ZIMBABWE – Twenty-seven people died while 47 were injured in road traffic accidents between Christmas eve and Boxing Day, making this year’s yuletude one of the bloodiest in years.
The total number of fatalities could not be established at the time of going to Press with police saying they were still compiling statistics to be released today.
The festive season officially begins on December 15 and runs until January 15.
Ten people died while 42 others were seriously injured in 59 road traffic accidents that were recorded countrywide on Boxing Day alone.
This brought the total number of people who have died in road accidents that were recorded over the past 72 hours to 27.
On Boxing Day last year, four people died while 27 others were injured in 47 accidents that were recorded. Police impounded 139 vehicles and arrested 6 371 motorists.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi yesterday said they impounded 67 unroadworthy vehicles and arrested 5 838 motorists for various offences.
“We continue to urge motorists to maintain safe travelling speed and observe rules and regulations. Passengers and pedestrians should not be negligent,” he said.
Seventeen people were killed in road accidents that occurred on December 24 and 25.
Of the 17, 13 people were killed on Christmas Eve while four people died on Christmas day.
Police said 81 accidents were recorded during these two days as compared to 87 accidents and 27 deaths recorded during the same period last year.
Police arrested 7017 motorists for various offences as compared to 7045 arrested last year.
A total of 121 vehicles were impounded while last year, 141 were seized.
Parliament has approved an increase in fines for various traffic offences from between $5 and $20 to a maximum $100. The new fines become effective this Friday on New Year’s Day.
Motorists, who proceed against a red traffic light, overtake over a solid white line, drive without a licence, or operate a faulty vehicle without a foot brake will be fined $100 for each offence up from the current $20.
Encroaching white lines at traffic light stops and verbally abusing other road users now attracts $20 fines from $10.
According to a Government Gazette published a fortnight ago, the legislature gave the nod to the passage of the 2016 National Budget which, among other interventions, will see traffic fines being increased.
Government contends that the increase in fines was necessitated by growing carnage on the country’s roads as a result of human error and reckless driving.
An average of five people have died daily in road traffic accidents between 2009 and last year, while two were injured every hour, according to the 2014 Annual Zimbabwe Republic Police Traffic Report.
During the period, the country witnessed a surge in road traffic accidents.
This was attributed to an increased vehicle population following improved economic performance that saw more people importing used Japanese cars.
Police statistics show that 41 016 road traffic accidents were recorded in 2014, a nine percent increase from 31 619 reported in 2013.
At least 1 692 people were reported to have died in road traffic accidents in 2014 compared to 1 782 the previous year.
Police say an average 1 824 people died each year between 2009 and 2014.