Minister warns reckless drivers

Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, thandeka.moyo@chronicle.co.zw 

TRANSPORT and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona has urged motorists to adhere to traffic rules and regulations to help preserve lives during the Easter holiday which starts tomorrow.

Traffic accidents are costing Zimbabwe US$406 million annually.

Easter is one of the most significant events on the Christian calendar during which many churches hold religious conferences and vigils.

Naturally, these movements cause a significant increase in human and vehicular traffic.

A study carried out by the United Nations estimated that in Zimbabwe, road transport accounts for over 96 percent of cargo freight and passenger movement. 

Launching the Easter holiday campaign in Harare yesterday, Minister Mhona said road safety awareness and education are at the core of maintaining the lifeline of the country’s most dominant means of transportation.

“It is clear that this coming weekend we should expect more traffic on our roads. As we take to our roads this Easter holiday, let us therefore not throw caution to the wind in so far as road safety is concerned,” he said

“Equally, let us not allow the excitement to get the better of us as it may lead to avoidable and needless loss of lives, ours or of others, that would no doubt bring misery to unsuspecting families.” 

Minister Mhona said road traffic crashes have now become the single largest killer of young people, between the ages of 25 and 45 years globally.

“To put my 2024 Easter road safety clarion call in perspective, allow me to paint a clear picture of the graveness of the road safety situation internationally and locally. Road traffic crashes have now become the single largest killer of young people, between the ages of 25 and 45, in the world,” he said.

“In Zimbabwe, a road traffic crash occurs every 15 minutes. This results in about five people being killed, while about 38 people are injured every single day on our roads. Just last year some 2 089 people lost their lives on our roads.” 

Minister Mhona said the 2024 Easter period comes at a time when the Government has made great strides in the rehabilitation, widening and construction of roads under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP).

President Mnangagwa

Under this programme, hundreds of kilometres of roads across the country have been repaired, rehabilitated, constructed, commissioned and are now in use.

“Further work is in progress on various construction sites on several projects recently launched, including but not limited to the Shurugwi-Mhandamabwe Road, the Harare-Chirundu Highway, the New Parliament access roads, the Harare-Kanyemba Road and the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road, Chivhu-Gutu-Lothiam Road, Nyanga-Ruwange Road and Domboshawa Road to name but a few,” said Minister Mhona.

“For our signature project, the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Road, 480 kilometres has now been opened to traffic and only less than 100km are outstanding. There is no doubt in my mind that good roads have significantly improved the experience of road users across the country. 

“This development by Government, led by our visionary leader His Excellency Cde Dr E D Mnangagwa, is a welcome one as good roads are a key enabler for economic development.”

Minister Mhona noted that the wider and smoother roads seem to have unleashed the beast of recklessness and excessive speed which remains a concern. 

“It is with this in mind, that I implore the motoring public to exercise extreme caution as they drive on the country’s roads this coming holiday. I appeal to motorists to desist from speeding, night driving, using unfit vehicles, overloading and being discourteous,” he said.

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