Government takes road accidents seriously

By Zivanai Dhewa

Following a spate of recent accidents that have engulfed our roads rendering them unsafe and taking away the joy of travel from travellers, people took to social media and sought questions from Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Fortune Chasi, on the state of roads and how safe they are.

On his twitter page, Deputy Minister Chasi revealed that the major cause of the recent accidents human error and not road state as Government has done and is still doing so much to repair and resurface the major roads.

“Human factor is of immense importance.  I put it as the highest factor,” said Deputy Minister Chasi.

One netzen by the name of Regan asked Deputy Minister Chasi whether the public can be empowered to send through a twitter account any vehicles caught breaking road regulations and endangering people’s lives.

“Please empower us, the road using civilians to help you and law enforcement agents to control the public transport service providers.  We have mobile phones and they have number plates. We can take pictures and videos of public transport drivers breaking the law and send to a Government WhatsApp handle,” said Regan.

Tinotenda Maseko, enquired on the state of roads that are currently being resurfaced and their durability.

“What is the average life expectancy of the roads you are building especially the major highways and are there any plans of building concrete roads because they last longer,” asked Tino on her twitter handle.

“Because of advancement in pavement technologies, Asphalt has an extremely long life span.  In fact, the average lifespan of Asphalt pavement is 15-20 years with regular preventative maintenance.  Maintenance is key every three to five years,” replied Deputy Minister Chasi

On social media, one netzen, Tongai Bexter Bethu asked if the police could come back and monitor drivers’ behaviour on the roads as they fear that these accidents are likely to increase towards the festive season.

“With the absence of the ZRP, the Commuter omnibuses have taken full advantage and now they are an army of unruly individuals doing as they please on the roads.  Inevitably other drivers have begun to copy such reckless driving and the situation on our roads is extremely bad,” said Bethu.

Addressing a question on the appropriation of collected funds by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA), Deputy Minister Chasi said, “The money collected is what we use for roads. They are simply a road fund.  Some of it is sent to local authorities and some we use for the trunk roads.”

Among other proffered suggestion, people called for a mandatory public transportation vehicle safety checks, quarterly retesting of drivers, installation of cameras to monitor speed, public and private transport behaviour, among other things, issues that Deputy Minister Chasi assured that his Ministry will look into.