Curb road traffic accidents
Published On February 13, 2014 » 2894 Views» By Davies M.M Chanda » Opinion
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EVERY year, Zambia loses hundreds of productive lives through road carnage and this has exerted huge costs on the country’s coffers.
Records show that, not less than 2,000 lives are lost in Zambia through road traffic accidents per year and that a high number of them have occurred either on the Great East or Great North roads.
A lot more however, have occurred elsewhere such as highways leading to the Northwest or Southern parts of the country where roads have deteriorated due to lack of proper maintenance and enough road signage.
In addition, many of these accidents which occur on an almost daily basis are purely caused by human error and this needs to be curbed before much of the mostly young and productive population is completely wiped out.
The focal point really is the Great North Road especially black spot areas around Chibombo in Central Province, where a huge number of lives have been lost in the past 12 months or so and have up to today, continued to record more tragic accidents.
This is worrisome especially that the same area had last year witnessed a loss of 52 lives when the Post Bus was involved in a head-on collision with the oncoming truck.
As if this was not enough, another accident almost at the same time as last year and at the same spot claimed at least five lives. This has brought great concern to the Government and other stakeholders who are now looking at the best approach to curb such carnage.
Government’s commitment has been expressed through Vice-President Guy Scott who this week was taken on a conducted tour of the selected black spots along the Kabwe-Lusaka highway especially around the notorious Chibombo area.
Dr Scott’s concern is valid and the steps he suggested such as, increasing Police check points on the highway should be acted upon with the urgency they deserve.
Another part worth taking into consideration is the setting up of enough reflective road signs along the way in addition to speed limiters which will make some desperate highway drivers to reduce speed.
It is unacceptable as the Dr Scott indicated, for such a long and busy stretch of the road to have only two Police check points which are mounted in an area far away from the accident black spots.
As Central Province Minister Obvious Mwaliteta observed, there is also need to regulate public service vehicles as most of the accidents have occurred through human error, mostly due to fatigue by drivers.
It will also be important for the Government to come up with a deliberate programme aimed at retraining Public Service Vehicle drivers most of whom are believed to have acquired licences through corruption.
It has also been proved that most of these bus drivers have graduated from being mere conductors to driving after obtaining fake driving documents, a situation which has compromised safety of passengers.
As a measure, the Road Traffic and Safety Agency (RTSA) should ensure that speed traps are set up in various areas along the way and punish erring offenders severely to help reduce accidents.
Further, Government should look for funds to elevate the Kabwe-Lusaka highway into a dual carriageway in the same manner it has done to the Kitwe-Chingola Road and remodeling of the Chingola-Solwezi Road.
Once such measures are followed and implemented, then Government and other stakeholders will be satisfied that this country is close to adopting the Swedish model in which that country records zero road traffic deaths every year.

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