Rampant disregard for rules coupled with lack of competency training by motorists fuel chaos and traffic offences on the country’s roads, some of which lead to the death of innocent people, latest findings by the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (Zimstat) have revealed.
The chaos has also been exacerbated by an influx of cheap Japanese second hand vehicles that have flooded the local market.
Figures released by Zimstat for the first quarter of this year show that all traffic offences have experienced a sharp increase since 2010 except for drunken driving.
Zimstat credits the Police General Headquarters (PGHQ) as the source of most of these traffic crime statistics countrywide.
The number of motorists arrested for driving without due care increased from 2,201 in 2010 to 37,419 in 2015 while unlicensed drivers rose to 13,800 last year from 819 in 2010.
Last year the number of drivers fined for speeding increased to 34,782 from 24,330 in 2010 whilst cases involving negligent driving were 5,619 against 209 recorded in 2010.
Four hundred and eighteen reckless drivers were fined in 2015 from 29 drivers arrested for the same offences in 2010.
The number of vehicles recorded for operating without insurance in 2010 was 2,678 whilst in 2015 the figure rose to 28,033 cases. The number of motorists operating unlicensed vehicles increased from 4,356 in 2010 to 42,615 cases last year.
However, statistics of drunken driving offences recorded a decline from 2010, a situation attributed to police not having breathlayers. The figures reveal that only 87 drunken driving cases were reported during the whole of last year compared to 2,854 cases in 2010.
Traffic analysts scoffed at the decrease in drunken driving cases saying the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) did not have modern technology in their policing system hence the apparent decrease.
They said the overall statistics of offences was enough evidence of reckless driving on the country’s roads. They also blamed the state of the country’s roads for some of the accidents.
Every year scores of lives are lost on the country’s roads in accidents that experts believe can be avoided if police adopt modern policing methods that involve the strict use of breathalysers at all roadblocks.
The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe is on record saying most road accidents are a result of human error.
“Speeding, misjudgment, overtaking error, failure to give way, following too close, reversing errors, negligent pedestrians or cyclists and fatigue are some of the human mistakes which can cause fatalities,” it said.
“Human error alone – which is quite preventable – contributed 93,4 percent to the cause of last year’s festive season road traffic accidents,” said TSCZ spokesperson, Tatenda Chinoda.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said police were not in a position to comment on the traffic figures from Zimstat.
“At the moment I can’t comment on the statistics from Zimstat because I’m not clear on the validity of their statistics. If these figures had been directly from us (ZRP) it would have been easier for me to give a comment on that. As ZRP we provide comments on issues and statistics that we raise or release from our offices,” she said. herald