ROAD traffic accidents have been mentioned as one of the major drawbacks to the country’s plans to attain its development goals.
The observation was made in Dar es Salaam yesterday by the Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, while presiding over a regional seminar on ‘Fast Tracking Road Safety’ to reduce the number of deaths which result from the road accidents.
“Africa has highest deaths caused by road accidents which means there is a great number of manpower obviously being lost on roads every year and most of them happen to be the youth,” he pointed out.
Prof Mbarawa hinted that funds being directed to treat people injured in such accident could have been channelled to other development projects in the society to “address poverty in the nation.
” He urged various development partners and private companies to join efforts to create awareness programmes in the public to reduce, if not to end the menace. The minister said the government has taken several measures to ensure the problem is addressed including bringing up speed control cameras to monitor motorists who over speed and bring them to book.
However, he pointed out that such accidents on the roads are likely to increase if collective efforts by all the stakeholders including the public are taken for granted.
“It is painful to read in newspapers or watching TVs highlighting how a bus has crashed with all its passengers on board feared dead. It really pains and if we will work together, I am sure we will make a big difference,” he noted.
On his side, International Road Federation (IRF) Chairman, Kiran Kapila, attending the workshop said the two-day seminar was likely to come out with possible solutions to reduce fatal road accidents if its findings will be implemented with seriousness it deserves.
According to him, over 1.8tr/- is lost every year due to road accidents, adding that the situation becomes worse especially when women become the sole breadwinners and nurse the injured after the accidents.
He pointed out that deaths and such related injuries are expected to rise by 6 per cent if serious education and public awareness on road safety is not given enough ‘coverage.’