PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has issued a number of directives to the relevant authorities in order to reduce the alarming number of accidents in the country, the most critical of which, is the education to all road users regarding safety.
Based on the data provided by the Police Force, in the period of three years (2020-2022), there were 5,132 reported accidents that caused 4,060 deaths and 6,427 injuries and disabilities.
Mr Majaliwa urged Tanzanians to reflect by being familiar with the rules and regulations of the road safety, because the number of fatalities and injuries was so high.
“Because they don’t follow the requirement of having at least two drivers to help each other for long-distance driving, upcountry buses are among the most common victims of traffic accidents, according to studies,” he said.
Speaking in Mwanza on Tuesday while launching the Road Safety Week, the Premier directed the Police Force and other law enforcement organs to ensure that long-distance buses have more than one driver.
Mr Majaliwa listed a number of factors to take into account in order to prevent accidents, such as following all traffic laws and regulations, obey the speed limit laws, stay focused and alert when driving, crossing at crosswalks, and refraining from riding bicycles or carts at the centre of the road.
He stated that the general public must stop abandoning defective cars on the road without posting a car breakdown sign; avoid leaving children unsupervised on the road, and for every person to provide information about drivers who violate traffic rules and regulations.
“In an effort to reduce traffic accidents, the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) should expedite the process of proposals for amendments to road safety laws and regulations in order to have a better law that does not leave a loophole for those who do not follow it,” said Mr Majaliwa.
He added that the NRSC should keep an eye on the implementation of a road marking system and punish violators of the law.
“Based on the data provided by the Police Force, the rate of accidents is number is very high, so we have a responsibility to ensure that the problem decreases. We need a joint effort to ensure that we face this accident problem,” said Mr Majaliwa.
During the 2020-2022 period, some 959 pedestrians lost their lives in accidents and 650 others were injured due to road accidents.
Furthermore, 797 motorcycle users died and 725 were injured during that period. 196 cyclists died and 82 were injured.
Of the drivers, 509 died and 584 have been injured, 17 cart pullers lost their lives and 14 were injured.
It was also directed that the council accelerates the implementation of instructions given by President Samia Suluhu Hassan in Arusha last year; to engage the private sector to inspect vehicles, since the current system of using the police force alone is not satisfactory since there are so many vehicles and users who require the service on time.
It is essential that the police force completes the procedure for installing electronic equipment that detects traffic violations when they occur, he stated.
“By doing so, we will protect the driving behaviour of unethical drivers while we continue to provide road user education,” he said.
Additionally, he urged that the Ministry of Education to examine the significance of including the topic of road safety in the curriculum by using instructors from the Police Force to teach students in schools a foundational grasp of road safety instruction.
Mr Majaliwa advised the Police Force to organise various events and employ various media, including online ones, to promote education beginning at the district level.
Additionally, it was directed that the regional road safety committees work with the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) and the Rural and Urban Roads Agency (TARURA) to identify risky areas and mark them to improve road user safety.
In addition, he asked that the police use artists from various fields to convey messages to road users as a means of education.
Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has been required to adhere to quality standards for imported spare parts and tyres, and Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (TIRA) has been directed to provide insurance education to vehicle owners in order to raise community awareness about the importance of insurance.
He has also directed regional authorities to properly manage bus stations and establish a good system to avoid congestion, queues, and even unnecessary accidents.