At some point HIV/AIDS was the biggest threat to Africa and the world, Ebola followed and also claimed many. It was the diseases that the world feared. A new threat has now found its way to the population of Africa. This one is not caused by disease, virus or natural disaster. It is a threat caused human error and recklessness. The road accidents are the new threat to Africa.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa has got the highest rate of accidents in the world affecting both the rich and the poor. The road accidents claim 1.25 million people each year and is predicted to rise in sub-Saharan Africa by least 80% by 2020 if nothing is done.
Zimbabwe as one of the African countries has experienced a lot of accidents. The latest one claiming a large number of lives being the Nyamakate, King Lion bus accident that led to the loss of more than 43 lives yesterday. Survivors of the accident said that the bus was speeding while the police force believe that the driver failed to negotiate a curve leading him to losing control of the bus according to a local paper.
The Government of Zimbabwe through His Excellency the President, Robert Mugabe who is currently out of the country responded by naming it a national disaster. The President offered $200 toward the families for funeral costs to each family. Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa also sent some condolences and Cabinet Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, according to Zim Eye rushed to the accident spot.
Michael Madanha, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development said that 90% of all road crashes were preventable since they were caused by human error. Zimbabwean Road Safety statistics show that there is a traffic collision every 15 minutes in Zimbabwe, implying that an average of 45 people are being injured every day, while an average of 7 people are killed on a daily basis. It is therefore important to understand the causes of road accidents in Zimbabwe.
The causes of road accidents in Zimbabwe include speeding, misjudgement, overtaking error, failure to give way, following too close, reverse error, negligent of pedestrians or cyclists fatigue, obstruction on the roadway and well as tyre bursts according to the Chronicle.
Many drivers ignore the speed limits and sometimes drive over the speed limit by 10, to 20 km. According to Madanha, speeding has been at the centre of the traffic injury problem. The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe has always advised against speeding among the motorists in Zimbabwe.Survivors of the King Lion bus accident say that the driver was speeding.
Road accidents are responsible for causing permanent injuries, and deaths of family bread winners also cause negative consequences to both the economy and the society. The majority of Zimbabwean movable factors of productions are transported by Road. Casualties of the Nyamakate Disaster comprised of cross-border traders. Economically the country not only suffers the loss of citizens but human capital to road carnage. Many investors travel around for meetings and business opportunities and some of these trips are by road. One can miss an important meeting due to an accident which can result into a pull back company’s activity.
Not to mention the damage done to transportation brands involved in such unfortunate activities.
It becomes clearer that Road safety is not only a societal but business problem as well and its cost is one is not one that is easily repaid