AT LEAST 81 people have died in road accidents during the festive season, a marked increase from the 75 that died in the corresponding period last year.
A total of 1 012 road accidents have been recorded nationwide this year, while 589 people sustained injuries as a result of these accidents, police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said in a statement yesterday.
Nyathi said there had been a 23% rise in the number of fatalities, with 822 accidents recorded compared to last year’s 430 injuries.
However, the number of road traffic accidents on December 27, at 49 was fewer than the 56 recorded last year.
The major cause for the accidents is human error, as many people during this season take the risk to drink and drive, while others drive very long distances without rest and end up falling asleep behind the wheel, leading to accidents.
“As we prepare to celebrate the New Year, motorists are urged to continue exercising caution on the road,” Nyathi said.
“We appeal to road users to adhere to rules and regulations and save people’s lives,” he said.
The police said they had issued more than 96 000 tickets and impounded about 2 000 defective vehicles over the last 12 days for various traffic offences, as they sought to reduce road fatalities.
Meanwhile, police said they had arrested a 35-year-old man identified as Sambulelo Ndlovu for unlawful possession of a firearm, which he is believed to have acquired with the intention to commit robberies in Harare.
“Circumstances are that the accused hired a taxi from Machipisa to Southley Park, Harare, on 24 December 2014,” Nyathi said. “The driver became suspicious and drove straight to ZRP Machipisa, where the accused was searched by detectives.”
Police said they recovered a 6.35mm Rhoner Sport Waffen pistol with one round, two by two-metre-long nylon ropes, a hunter’s knife, two pairs of latex gloves and a roll of adhesive tape.
“Upon being interviewed the accused implicated his three accomplices who had invited him from Bulawayo to Harare intending to commit robberies,” Nyathi said.
“Police are conducting investigations with a view of arresting the accused’s accomplices.”