At least five people died daily in road accidents in 2017, as the number of fatalities in traffic crashes rose by 10%, statistics from the Traffic Safety Council in Zimbabwe (TSCZ) reveal.
A total of 1 838 deaths were recorded last year, while 10 489 were injured in 42 430 crashes that occurred in 2017, translating to 153 deaths monthly.
The accidents reveal a 10% rise from 2016 figures, which had 38 620 crashes that killed 1 721 travellers.
December had the highest number of crashes due to the festive season rush − at 5 175 − resulting in 240 deaths and 1 357 injuries, the statistics reveal.
“A total of 1 336 drivers were involved in the road traffic crashes, which occurred in the period under study,” the TSCZ statistics given to NewsDay on request by the organisation’s information, communications and technology manager, Tatenda Chinoda showed.
“Out of the 1 336 drivers involved in the 2017 crashes, 88,2% were males, 3,8% were females and 7,9% were unknown, thereby, representing hit and run situations.”
The 26 to 35 years age group topped the 2017 accidents list − with a frequency of 471, the data showed.
Unlicensed drivers also had a high frequency of 475 accidents.
The grim statistics also reveal that most of the unlicensed drivers involved in the accidents were driving public service vehicles which demand that they undergo defensive driving lessons.
“The death of breadwinners and young professionals due to preventable road traffic crashes is unacceptable at all costs. It is estimated that the loss of lives and limbs per year due to road traffic crashes is costing low income nations like Zimbabwe up to 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
“Assuming that Zimbabwe’s GDP is $14 billion, then, per year the country loses about $406 million annually due to road carnage,” a research paper by TSCZ released last month titled A Critical Analysis of the 2017-2018 Festive Season Fatal Road Traffic Crashes in Zimbabwe further reveals. In the 2016 report, TSCZ blames human error − not bad roads – as the main cause for road traffic accidents that occurred then.