TANZANIA marked the climax national road safety week in Mwanza yesterday as road carnage beast continues to rear its ugly head.
To put this beast in a proper perspective, World Health Organisation data show road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years. Approximately 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes.
More than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and 93 per cent of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Road traffic crashes cost most countries 3 per cent of their gross domestic product.
According to a joint research project conducted by the World Bank Group and the Global Road Safety Facility, 57 per cent of road crash fatalities and injuries occur in economically productive age groups (15-64 years), with a male-to-female gender ratio of 2:1.
Tanzania, like many other countries in the world, is losing its children and young adults due to road traffic accidents. According to the latest WHO data published in 2020 Road Traffic Accidents deaths in Tanzania reached 18,054 or 6.12 per cent of total deaths.
The main cause of accidents and crashes are human errors due to common human behaviour such as over speeding which is accountable to most of the road accidents and driving under the influence of alcohol and other psychoactive substances.
Others are non-use of motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints and distracted driving mostly through the use of mobile phones while driving, which is a growing concern for road safety.
So long as human errors are to blame for most of the road traffic crashes, we call upon relevant authorities to take seriously directives by the Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa that include incorporating the private sector in setting up a point system on drivers licence to help to improve driving habits and to ensure safe driving.
The police force should look for ways to install vehicle electronic monitoring system in public transport vehicles to monitor driver activities and help to identify behaviours such as excessive speed, harsh braking, rapid acceleration or drowsy driving.
The police force should also strengthen vehicle inspections by involving the private sector as the Prime Minister rightly instructed.
We are convinced that we can reduce road traffic accidents if Prime Minister instructions are followed and everyone played their role.