FESTIVE SEASON TRAGEDY AS 15 PERISH IN ACCIDENTS
Fifteen people died countrywide in 13 road traffic accidents recorded on Unity Day last Friday while four others were killed in another accident along the Harare-Beitbridge Highway early yesterday.
The number of those who have been injured so far could not be ascertained at the time of going to print. Full statistics for Saturday and yesterday’s road accidents were not available and police said they would release a comprehensive report today as they were still compiling figures.
In a statement, national police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said an analysis of the road traffic accidents revealed that of the 13 accidents, nine were caused by speeding, while four were as a result of inattention and misjudgment.
“Two pedestrians were knocked down at the 132km peg along the Harare-Mukumbura Road while another one died on the spot near Fairbridge, Bulawayo, as they tried to cross the road.
“In yet another incident, which occurred at 2.30am at the 258km peg along Masvingo-Beitbridge Road, one person died after one of the drivers encroached into the lane of oncoming traffic. The same circumstances were also recorded in two other accidents that occurred in Harare and Chivhu. The circumstances point to fatigue/human error,” Chief Supt Nyathi.
He said most accidents were recorded during the early hours of the day.
“As police were are urging motorists to avoid speeding and to exercise extreme caution on the road and to be on the lookout for pedestrians and animals. Pedestrians must check both sides of the road and ensure that it is safe to cross before crossing any road,” he said.
“Encroaching into the lane of oncoming traffic is suggestive of fatigue or sleeping while driving. We urge drivers to take breaks when on long journeys and to desist from taking alcohol and drugs which may impair their judgment,” he said.
Last year, 16 people were killed while 45 others were injured in 106 road traffic accidents that occurred on Christmas Day compared to only four deaths in 2015.
Although police could not release the total number of deaths from December 15 when the festive period officially started, the 16 deaths in one day last year compared to four in 2015 were disturbing given that many motorists failed to travel due to liquidity constraints.
Indications were that speeding and overtaking errors were to blame for most of the accidents. Statistics released by the police indicate that 106 accidents were recorded on Christmas Day last year alone compared to 81 recorded in 2015.