The Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) says legislation on road rules and regulations to deter motorists who cause fatal road crashes are ineffective without properly investing in road-rail infrastructure and enforcement stakeholders.
The assertion comes in the wake of the recent announcement by Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Felix Mhona that government is in the process of revising certain pieces of legislation on road rules and regulations.
Zimbabwe loses an average of 5 people per day to road crashes whilst rail death rate occurring during the first six months of the year 2022 account for 80 percent.
In an interview, PAZ president said a cocktail of measures are needed to ensure road safety.
“There is need for government to invest in road, rail and enforcement agencies first before legislating road users. For starters rail derailments are a result of old trains that are no longer of use in carrying passengers.
“Government should thus buy new trains altogether, rehabilitating old ones has proved futile enough. Additionally, our road infrastructure is also not up to standard. Take the Bulawayo, Hwange, Victoria Falls road for instance. It is in dire need of repair. Even some locations and rural areas roads are just as bad. I might as well say 90% of our roads are in bad shape and government should attend to that. There is need to understand that some of these accidents are beyond road users’ control due the bad state of our rail and road infrastructure.
“The other issue pertains investing in road enforcers. For example police do not have patrol cars to attend to road accidents, speed traps, breathalysers and other enabling instruments that will make it easier to enforce road regulations are adhered to,” he said.
He said stakeholder recommendation was needed to complement effective regulation and rules of roads.
“There is need to take into account key issues that stakeholders such as us who represent passengers have to say about road safety. For example we once petitioned the Portfolio Committee on the issue of speed limiters. However that was not remedied.”
In his speech during the United Nations Road Safety Week in Harare, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Mhona appealed to operators and drivers of both private vehicles and public service vehicles, to adhere to basic safety issues like the use of safety belts, roadworthiness of vehicles, avoiding fatigue driving, shunning drunk driving, promoting pedestrian safety and avoiding all forms of dangerous driving such as speeding, hit and run and overloading.
He said TSCZ has procured paint for the renewal of signage, road regulatory signs and danger warning signs for all rail-road level crossing sites in Zimbabwe.