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Roads must not be death traps

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SOMEONE once said those who died yesterday had plans for this morning. 

Those who died this morning had plans for tonight and those who died last night had plans for tomorrow. 

They all had plans for the future. 

Why then are we, as Zimbabweans, taking life for granted as we navigate our country’s roads? 

Yes, in a split second everything can change and that is why we are emphasising the need for all motorists to be cautious because life is priceless. 

The recent road accident in Marondera that claimed the lives of two schoolchildren, leaving several seriously injured, was attributed to reckless driving. 

It involved two pirate taxis (mushikashika) that collided.   

It comes on the backdrop of yet another tragedy in Nyanga that claimed the lives of six students from Tynwald High School. 

A teacher from the same institution later succumbed to injuries from the same. And recently, there was the Rimbi bus and Zebra Kiss bus account that left one dead. 

Drivers from both buses were recklessly racing before the Rimbi bus rammed into a tipper truck.

These accidents could all have been avoided had the drivers exercised caution. Human error has been the main cause of most road accidents recorded countrywide. 

According to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), 148 people died and 669 were injured in 2 723 road traffic accidents recorded between December 15 last year and January 15 2023. 

And the message from ZRP has been consistent – drivers must always exercise caution. 

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “The ZRP implores drivers to be always cautious on the roads and strive to set an appropriate conduct on safety standards to safeguard lives.

“Above all, the motoring public is implored to exercise extreme caution on the roads during this rain season as some roads are slippery and in a bad state.

“Public service vehicle operators are urged to adhere to speed limits on the country’s roads and stop engaging in highway races while competing for passengers.

“The public is advised to report errant drivers on the roads.” 

Are we, as Zimbabweans, taking heed?

Are we prioritising safety? 

The lawlessness by motorists on our country’s roads is deplorable to say the least. 

It is no longer just about the mushikashikas and commuter omnibuses. 

Many motorists are flouting road rules in broad daylight and, in the process, endangering the lives of other motorists and pedestrians. 

We are seeing motorists with public and private vehicles going against traffic, proceeding against red traffic lights, failing to stop at rail level crossings, overtaking over solid white lines and even failing to stop at zebra crossings, among other offences. What is also worrying is that there are many unlicensed drivers out there and, surprisingly, they don’t give a damn about the police. 

Which is why we insist that the ZRP must descend heavily on unruly and unlicenced motorists. There must be no sacred cows. 

Many a time we see traffic officers dilly-dallying with offenders and would-be offenders instead of laying down the law. 

That must come to an end.We see officers mounting roadblocks, but we also see sinister activities happening there. 

That must also come to an end because people must not be sacrificed over a few pieces of silver. 

It is time we unite as Zimbabweans and differentiate between the good and the bad on our roads. 

Let us value life for we only live once. 

We must never turn our roads into death traps.     

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