FOUR people died yesterday morning after a Botswana-registered Toyota Wish they were travelling in was involved in a head-on collision with a haulage truck near Fort Rixon along the Harare-Bulawayo Road.
The accident occurred at the 393km peg along the highway and all four occupants who were in the Toyota Wish died on the spot.
The accident comes after the Zimbabwe Republic Police has also put in place adequate and effective measures to curb road traffic accidents during this year’s festive season.
In a statement, chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the four were travelling from the neighbouring country through the Plumtree Border Post.
“Preliminary investigations have revealed that the Toyota Wish encroached into the lane of oncoming traffic resulting in a head on collision with a haulage truck that was travelling in the opposite direction.
“All the four occupants in the Toyota Wish died on the spot while the driver of the haulage truck and his passenger were injured and they were referred to the hospital for treatment,” she said.
She said they were appealing to motorists to exercise extreme caution and to avoid speeding.
“Motorists should also consider the condition of the roads especially during this rainy season. Those who are embarking on long journeys should take breaks and rests to avoid fatigue and where possible alternative drivers should be used,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.
She recently said they had escalated efforts to reduce road carnage through awareness programmes and deployment of traffic police officers on the country’s highways.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Charamba said they were working with various stakeholders to reduce road carnage.
In Mashonaland East Province, ZRP and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) teamed up to raise awareness of traffic safety in a bid to reduce road carnage during the festive season.
Mashonaland East Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Cde Apolonia Munzverengwi also appealed to all road users to exercise extreme caution during the festive season to avoid unnecessary loss of lives.
Cde Munzverengwi said it was sad that the province which is host to four busy highways namely Harare – Masvingo, Harare – Mutare, Harare – Nyamapanda and the Harare- Wedza highways, has had a bad start to the festive season following the death of 17 people near Juru Growth Point following an accident involving two commuter omnibuses last week.
Over the weekend, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said Government will cancel route permits for transport operators whose drivers are routinely caught flouting road traffic laws and has deployed police and Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) officers to ensure compliance.
Minister Matiza said police would be out in full force to rid the roads of defective vehicles and warned against drunken driving and overloading of buses, all of them major causes of traffic accidents on the nation’s highways.
The minister said transport operators should not overwork their drivers, which leads to fatigue.
He said driving under the influence of alcohol was a punishable offence and was totally condemned.
Minister Matiza said proper red reflective triangles should always be used in case of a breakdown to increase visibility.
He said those who failed to adhere to this requirement would be dealt with in terms of the Road Traffic Act and Road Motor Transportation Act.
The country has experienced several fatal traffic accidents involving public transport in the past few months.
Most of the accidents have been attributed to human error and mechanical faults, notably the Rusape bus disaster where 46 people were killed when Bolt Cutter and Smart Express buses side-swapped at the 166-kilometre peg on Harare-Mutare highway early last month.
A total of 1 855 people died in road accidents between January and November this year countrywide, marking a 15 percent increase in deaths compared to the same period last year.
The country also recorded a 20 percent increase in fatal accidents, statistics from the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) have revealed.
The statistics show that an average of six people died daily through road accidents while 146 traffic crashes per day were recorded under the period.
“Road traffic crashes increased by 20,14 percent from 40 687 recorded same period last year up to 48 880. The total number of fatalities on our roads also went up by 20,9 percent from 1 187 last year to 1 415 this year and a notable loss in people killed went up by 14, 75 percent from 1 546 last year to 1 855 this year,” the TSCZ report said.
It said although there was an increase in fatalities, the country recorded a decrease in people who were injured in road accidents.
“There was a decrease in the people injured by 40,13 percent from 9 529 last year to 5 705 this year respectively,” he said.
It said August recorded the highest deaths: 239 people died while October had the least deaths at 89.
In the period under review, the country recorded horrific road accidents claiming lives of scores of people.
Human error causes 90 percent of the road accidents in the country.
This festive season, the TSCZ has embarked on road safety awareness campaigns to encourage motorists to exercise caution on the roads.