THIS year’s Christmas Holiday is turning out to be the bloodiest in as many years with 78 people reported to have died while 535 others were injured in 916 road accidents recorded between December 15 and Boxing Day.
About 69 deaths were recorded during the same period last year with 345 injuries. In fact, the number of accidents has increased from 766 in 2013 to 963 in 2014. The number of accidents on Boxing Day was 47, almost twice the 28 recorded the same day last year.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said 10 people died on Christmas Day and most of the accidents involved foreign-registered vehicles coming into the country through the southern border posts.
“Most of the accidents which occurred on Christmas Day involved foreign-registered vehicles, especially in Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South as people moved from one country to another for the holiday,” Nyathi said, adding that during the same period last year 64 people died while 311 were injured in 738 accidents.
“Drivers are urged to rest when travelling long distances in order to curb fatigue,” Nyathi said.
He appealed to motorists to travel during the day as statistics have indicated that most fatal accidents occurred during the night and early morning hours. By Christmas Eve, police said they had issued out over 8 000 tickets to offending motorists at various roadblocks countrywide.
We said it on Christmas Eve and we say it again: Let us drive to stay alive.
Motorists should avoid driving under the influence of alcohol. We observed during the festive periods motorists drinking while driving.
Police should come hard on drinking while driving because many lives have already been lost. We have observed abuse of alcohol by most motorists and their passengers as the festive spirit continues.
We urge police to physically search cars in attempts to discourage drink driving which appears to be the norm among Zimbabweans.
Motorists are encouraged to continue exercising caution on the roads to prevent accidents especially during the remaining festive days as we trudge towards the New Year.
Some accidents can be prevented and are attributed to defective vehicles, speeding and worn out tyres. What baffles the mind is how drunk drivers and defective vehicles pass through roadblocks which are usually numerous during the festive season.