The number of road traffic accidents in Zambia almost doubled in the last six years a latest road safety study covering the period 2008 to 2013 has revealed.
The study further reveals that accident rates have continued to rise at approximately nine percent per annum while the fatality rates have been increasing at approximately 10 percent per annum.
The indicates that the number of deaths due to road traffic accidents also increased by approximately 50 percent from 1, 238 in 2008 to 1, 851 in 2013 while the death rates due to road accidents per 100, 000 people increased by 30 percent.
Principal Investigator Godfrey Biemba said the study attributed the increase in road accidents to poor road infrastructure and human error on the roads.
He said this when he made a presentation on the current state of road safety in Zambia during a dissemination workshop on road safety at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Lusaka yesterday.
Dr Biemba said the number of road traffic accidents increased by 48 percent from 19, 727 in 2008 to 29, 118 in 2013.
He revealed that North-western Province recorded the highest increase in the number of road traffic accidents over the last six years from 469 in 2008 to 1, 553 in 2013 representing a 227 percent increase.
He further stated that accident rates per 100, 000 people also increased by 31 percent from 156 accidents recorded per 100, 000 in 2008 to 205 accidents recorded over 100, 000 in 2013.
Dr Biemba stated that the highest number of road traffic accidents were reported in Lusaka with some 74, 215 case recorded followed by Copperbelt and Central Provinces with 30, 166 and 9, 081 cases of road accidents recorded respectively.
He said the central region recorded the highest case fatality rates in 2013 at 17.1 percent followed by Southern Province at 8.3 percent and North Western Province at seven percent.
Dr Biemba disclosed that six major causes of accidents were identified which included misjudgement of clearance distance, failing to keep to nearside, cutting in, reversing negligently, excessive speeding and pedestrian crossing the road.
He also stated that measures currently being implemented appear to be inadequate both in terms of scale and variety.
He however stated that government has shown political will to reduce the number of road traffic accidents in the country by improving road infrastructure through the construction of major roads and implementation of policies and measures to ensure safety on the roads.
The study was conducted by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), the Zambia Centre for Allied Research Development and the Zambia Police Service.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr Joseph Kasonde thanked the media for continuously alerting members of the public on the consequences of road traffic accidents.
He said road traffic accidents are a big problem that requires serious intervention to curb.