“Road safety is no accident. It requires concerted, sustained efforts across a range of sectors “
Lusaka, Zambia – 8th April 2015. The Easter holiday road traffic crash statistics revealed by the Zambia Police should be yet another wake-up call on how as the country view road crashes and the worsening road traffic safety.
The Police spokesperson Ms. Charity Chanda said that during the Easter holiday period, 291 accidents were reported of which 49 people died and over 100 were injured. Compared to the same period last year, 35 died in 184 accidents representing an increase of 107 road accidents. We should all be concerned because this demonstrates that current efforts to address road safety are minimal in comparison to this growing pandemic.
We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the 49 lives and express our deepest condolences to the friends and families of the victims.
We ask ourselves, in case of the Mazabuka incident in which 17 lives were lost including that of the driver, who is to blame? Is it the owner of Shoprite building for the dangerous location of his building? Is it the Police who permitted the truck to illegally pass through the check point with people? Is it the engineer who designed the road? Is it the local MP or Mazabuka local authorities locally responsible for the roads? What about the owner of the Truck? The families of the lost ones and those who suffered serious injuries need answers. It will be of no use to just say, sorry, it’s an accident and it ends there. Nobody can put a cost on the death of a loved one following a fatal road accident. The personal tragedy, pain and suffering is immeasurable. Road death is often amplified by the fact that the same members of one family and/or close friends are often occupants in the same car. In a number of cases, several family members are killed.
And for those who suffer injuries, the injuries are often life-changing, not only for the injured person, but often also for their family and friends. Road accidents can put an end to lives, but even if you survive a crash, it can put an end to your dreams. Being in a wheelchair for the rest of your life or suffering the effects of a serious brain injury could mean you never get the job you want or the quality of life you expected. Simply put road death and injury is massively wasteful, destroys lives beyond those of the actual victims, limits future productivity, wipe out more years of future happiness and drains money from our country.
We call upon all to get involved in reducing accidents from the councils, teachers, medical professionals, religious and community leaders. We can only prevent accidents from happening when we all play our part. Road safety is no accident. It requires concerted, sustained efforts across a range of sectors. Companies should introduce road safety policies to protect their employees and others from dangers on the road because a number of accidents involve people driving for work. Prevention and reducing of accidents cannot be left to the government alone or few individuals.
The 2004 World Health Organisation (WHO) World Report On Road Traffic Injury highlighted the importance of joined-up approaches to prevent road death and injury:
“Road safety is a multi-sectoral issue and a public health issue – all sectors…need to be fully engaged in responsibility, activity and advocacy for road crash injury prevention… ”
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Notes for Editors:
ZAMBIAN ROAD SAFETY TRUST
The Zambian Road Safety Trust (ZRST), a not for profit organisation, seeks to create awareness on road safety and contribute towards reduction in road traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities. Zambia, with almost 2,000 deaths in road crashes per year, is one of the worst performing countries, as far as road safety is concerned. The trust has a particular role to play in terms of personalising the Road Safety Issue, creating a sense of urgency and generating a demand for safety from the public.