Zambian Road Safety Trust (ZRST) has called on government to immediately implement life-saving measures that will save lives and prevent serious injuries as the Zambian roads have continued to be deadly,
The Zambia Police statistics released has shown an increase in casualties and incidents caused by road traffic in 2016, with no improvement in road safety since 2011.
ZRST Communications Officer said in a press statement today that the newly released government traffic data paint a sobering picture of safety on the nation’s roads as 2016 remained the deadliest year on the nation’s roads.
Mailosi Mwale said the number of people who died in road accidents reached 2,206 last year, that’s a 4.4 percent increase over 2015.
Mr Mwale noted that the total for 2016 was up 19% from the 2014 figure. The annual total for 2015 was 2,113, a 14% increase from 2014. The 2014 figure was less than 0.5% higher than 2013.
The Communications officer said out of the 2,206 persons killed, 237 were children amongst them 137 were boys and 100 girls.
He said 6,432 road users were injured seriously, some permanently disabled for the rest of their lives in 2016, and 8,456 were slightly injured.
Mr Mwale said the Zambia Police cited that most of the accidents have been attributed to excessive speed at 14.7%, misjudging clearance distance 14.6%, failing to keep to the near side 12.8% whilst cutting at 10.9%.
Statistically this means that every day six lives are lost on the roads, 20 seriously injured and reported 90 accidents.
He pointed out that the figures might not be statistically significant, urged people inform their family and friends about it.
ZRST Chairperson Danniel Mwamba said: “Our complacency is killing us. Zambians believe there is nothing we can do to stop crashes from happening, but that isn’t true, we know what needs to be done; we just haven’t done it.”
Mr Mwamba said the figures are worrying, especially that the driver’s conduct remains the top cause of crashes.
“We are clear on what needs to be done here. We call for road safety targets to be introduced by the Road Transport and Safety Agency- they are an internationally recognised way of ensuring reductions are measured and achieved, He said.
He also called for a greater focus on driver and rider quality and incentives for companies and individuals to continuously develop their skills.
Mr Mwamba said there is also need to focus on tackling pedestrian deaths, an area which is often ignored.
“We also need better pedestrian facilities to segregate traffic and vulnerable users where speeds are high, and campaigns to educate pedestrians themselves as they are most often at fault in crashes,” Mr Mwamba noted.
He said the number of pedestrian fatalities is over 60% compared to other road users such as drivers and vehicle occupants adding that efforts should be focused on making the roads safer for everyone, and especially for people travelling on foot, including the safety of children going to school.
“As our economy improves, we can expect traffic levels to continue to increase, so we must do everything we can to make sure this does not lead to even more increases in road crashes and casualties” he said.