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Festive road fatalities shoot to 77

Sekete Lesaoana

The director of Road Safety department, Dr Kinini Mathews, has expressed concern over high road fatalities that occurred during the just ended festive season period.

The death toll for the number people who perished on the roads around the country shot up to 77 this season compared to 30 in the previous one.

Dr Mathews, who spoke following conclusion of their festive road safety awareness campaign, said the high deaths were related to over speeding, which has worsened this time around.

“Our mandate is to reduce fatalities through correct procedures like seatbelt usage and the halting of drunk driving,” Dr Mathews said.  

“Cases of over speeding were worse this time as 77 people died this year while 30 died last year, with 393 people injured. We are united in fighting deaths and we will address this with urgency.”

The department aims to introduce monthly road safety campaigns targeting over speeding and drunk driving to tackle the high road deaths.

In its report on the campaign, the department said other factors of road crashes in the just ended festive season were drunk driving, lack of use of safety belts and use of vehicles that are not road worthy.

The report however, indicated a number of factors that may possibly mitigate the campaign performance.

Among others, a gazette authorising usage of breathalysers was not issued, which affected drunk-driving monitoring.

Refuelling of government vehicles only on selected days hindered the campaign’s daily routine, and also restricted the areas it reached.

Bad weather is also reported to have affected the campaign, whereby personnel were unable to use speed measuring devices in the pouring rains.

Power cuts at the Magistrate Court also stalled court proceedings throughout the campaign, while there was also lack of communication to coordinate the entire campaign.

Lack of road signage for speed limits and absence of promotional material was another challenge.

Limited number of spot fine devices and lack of sensitization with every stakeholder before commencement of the campaigns also proved to be a challenge.

On the other hand, the department also noted a number of achievement from the just ended campaign.

The was improved road crash data as there was developed compliance in relation to other road traffic offences.

Usage of spot fine devices by the traffic officers and usage of safety belts also improved during the campaign.

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