Traffic cops to be held liable for accidents 

Source: Traffic cops to be held liable for accidents – #Asakhe – CITE

In response to a surge in road accidents, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Felix Mhona has announced a stringent new policy aimed at curbing the escalating carnage on Zimbabwe’s roads.

Speaking in the Senate, the Minister declared that any vehicle involved in an accident after passing through a manned roadblock would result in the accountability of roadblock officials.

The past few months have seen a disturbing increase in road traffic accidents across the country, leading to numerous fatalities and injuries.

This surge has been attributed to various factors, including reckless driving, unroadworthy vehicles, and inadequate enforcement of traffic regulations.

Expressing concern on the issue, Manicaland Senator Jane Chistamba questioned the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development on what the Ministry is doing to stop the surge in road carnage, which has become a weekly occurrence resulting in hundreds of deaths on Zimbabwean roads, especially among users of public transport.

“There is too much recklessness by drivers of public transport,” she said.

According to the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, from January to May 2024, the country has had a total of 21,183 road crashes, resulting in 860 fatalities and injuring 4,350 people.

In January, there were 3,915 total crashes, 138 fatalities, and 797 injuries. In February, there were 3,913 crashes, 104 fatalities, and 713 injuries. March recorded 4,431 crashes, with 211 deaths and 940 injuries. April saw 4,219 crashes, 203 fatalities, and 990 injuries. In May, there were 4,705 crashes, resulting in 204 deaths and 910 injuries.

These numbers indicate a persistent issue with road safety, highlighting the need for stronger enforcement of traffic regulations and better vehicle maintenance practices.

Emphasizing the gravity of the situation, the Minister stated that the new policy is intended to ensure greater accountability and diligence among traffic enforcement officers.

“It is quite saddening that over 26 precious lives were lost in June alone, with over 56 people injured,” Mhona said.

“We are taking serious measures in terms of mitigatory actions as a Ministry, but this calls for a holistic approach. Where we have witnessed recklessness, where we did not preserve the sanctity of life on our roads, where others are driving under the influence of alcohol, and through the enforcement agents, we have said if a vehicle passes through a manned checkpoint and is involved in an accident, the officials are accountable.”

He added, “Not only that, even the operators of those buses. So we are not only charging the drivers.”

Mhona pointed out that in all reported accidents, the vehicles did not have certificates of fitness, indicating they were unfit for the road.

“So we cannot continue to watch. We cannot continue to allow such anarchy and lawlessness on our roads. We are tabling a very deterrent Statutory Instrument (SI) to address such malpractices.”

He continued, “We are witnessing 2,000 lives lost per annum in this small country of Zimbabwe. We cannot continue to have such an alarming number. I want to assure the august House that we will not rest on our laurels as a Ministry, but will continue to appeal to this august House for deterrent measures.”

The announcement has garnered mixed reactions from the public. Some welcome the move, viewing it as a necessary step to improve road safety and reduce accidents.

“Holding officials accountable will push for more thorough inspections and adherence to safety standards,” said one resident in Bulawayo.

However, some traffic enforcement officers expressed concern over the practicality and fairness of the policy.

“While the intention is good, it may lead to undue pressure on officers and could result in them being unfairly blamed for accidents beyond their control,” commented one traffic officer.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
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    Remedio Fernandes 1 week ago

    I have said this before and will say it again, now! Efficacious use of ZRP details is not the order of the day. Too ofetn we see ZRP assisting ZBC officials. The possession of a radio licence does not improve one’s driving. These details should be manning intersections, especially those controlled by traffic lights. Severe penalties should be in=mposed on motorists who blatantly disregard the traffic signals – proceeding against a red light , often well after the red has appeared. Abuse of lanes is rampant: overtaking a queue of cars to be at the intersection when the light turns green and then proceed straight on. The creation of a secong right-turning lane when one does not exist. These are serious traffic violations.