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Drive safely, save lives

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MOTORISTS must slow down and be patient on the country’s roads as the death toll is already at 31 in less than 10 days.

Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said the deaths were from 515 accidents that left 262 others injured. A total of 1 239 vehicles were impounded and 52 150 tickets issued for an assortment of traffic offences since December 15.

These men, women and children had families and loved ones. They had dreams and hopes, and certainly did not want to die in such an agonising way.

Overnight, children became orphans and families were devastated. This number can easily double if nothing is done to stop the carnage, considering that most people will only travel to their Christmas destination today.

Nyathi said most traffic accidents were caused by speeding, overtaking errors, inattentive drivers, as well as misjudgment and failure to give way.

This means most road accidents are preventable. The poor road safety culture and failure by traffic cops to strictly enforce traffic laws are also to blame for the high carnage.

The number of vehicles impounded and tickets issued do not correspond. What were so many tickets issued for? Too many times, police issue spot fines for unroadworthy vehicles instead of impounding them, resulting in the rise in accidents.

Impounding unroadworthy vehicles is an effective exercise the police need to enforce more than merely issuing tickets to drivers with dysfunctional brakes.

Often road crashes and accidents happen because of indiscretions, texting and speaking on a cellphone while driving, jaywalking, falling asleep at the steering wheel and excessive speeding. As long as irresponsible road users are not strictly punished, there will be more bloodletting on our roads.

Christmas is a time of celebration, but the grim reality is that it is also a time of loss and grief for some. Multiple lives are lost, including children, because some motorists do not think about other road users before they take the wheel.

Some drink or take drugs and then drive while others just simply decide to speed. Driving drunk is stupid and dangerous and should be punished as drunk and reckless drivers have taken too many lives.

We wish our readers and advertisers an accident free Christmas.

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