Road traffic tragedy: 604 people killed in Q3 road traffic accidents


Human error and lack of licensed drivers contribute to alarming road safety concerns

According to the latest report from the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (ZimStat), road traffic accidents in the country during the third quarter of 2023 resulted in a tragic toll of at least 604 lives lost. Despite a slight decrease in overall accidents, fatalities surged by 15%, painting a grim picture of road safety in Zimbabwe.

ZimStat’s report revealed that out of the 12,564 road traffic accidents reported during the quarter, fatalities accounted for 604 deaths, while injuries numbered 2,624. Although the total number of accidents decreased by 3.2% compared to the second quarter, the rise in fatalities is a troubling trend.

The data further highlighted that during the start of the festive season alone, approximately 20 lives were claimed by traffic accidents in just four days. The primary causes of these accidents continue to be attributed to human error and the poor state of the country’s roads.

Another concerning revelation from ZimStat’s report was the fact that less than half of motorists possess legal driver’s licenses. The agency disclosed that during the third quarter of 2023, only 43.2% of the 61,644 candidates who took the certificate of competency test succeeded. This indicates a significant gap in driver’s training and qualification, posing a potential risk to road safety.

On a regional level, the statistics varied across Zimbabwe’s provinces. With the exception of Bulawayo, the proportion of candidates passing provisional driver’s license tests in the third quarter ranged from 59.9% in Midlands to an impressive 78.0% in Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central.

Zimbabwe’s road safety challenges have not gone unnoticed on the global stage. A previous report by World of Statistics ranked the country among the top two nations with the most unsafe road networks. Shockingly, the report revealed that 41 out of every 100,000 people in Zimbabwe succumb to road traffic injuries.

In the period between 2019 and 2022, a staggering total of 8,897 lives were lost due to traffic accidents. Last year alone, 2,079 fatalities were recorded from 52,585 reported accidents, underscoring the urgent need for enhanced road safety measures.

As Zimbabwe grapples with these alarming statistics, it is crucial for authorities to address the root causes of these accidents. Strengthening road infrastructure, implementing effective driver training programs, and promoting greater awareness of responsible driving behaviours are essential steps toward curbing this devastating loss of life on the nation’s roads.

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