MWENEZI - Reckless driving coupled with the worrisome state of the country’s busiest main road; the Harare-Beitbridge highway is continuously costing innocent lives that could otherwise be avoided.
If corrective measures were to be taken by authorities through upgrades and maintenance, the Mwenezi stretch of the artery will cease to be the death trap that it currently is.
Recently, the Mwenezi stretch recorded two separate fatal accidents within a short space of time. The first one occurred at the 129km peg where a South Africa-bound Africa Link bus killed five people and left 45 others injured. The second accident happened at the 166km peg where an omnibus collided head-on with a haulage truck, killing all the six men who were in the omnibus.
The two fatal accidents and many other ‘minor’ ones are caused mostly by reckless driving and the bad state the road.
Mwenezi District Development Coordinator (DDC), Rosemary Chingwe said the highway was probably deadliest in Mwenezi.
She said urgent repairs and upgrades were needed on many parts of the road, and urged drivers to stop over-speeding and violating other road rules.
“The highway is in bad shape and needs serious attention from Chirundu to Beitbridge. As for the Mwenezi stretch, you find that several fatalities are being recorded as a result of an increase in the number of unattended black spots.
“There is a double curve at the 129km peg but there are no roads signs there. A lot of attention is needed at that scene which is proving to be a horrible black spot. It must also be noted, however, that several accidents occurring there are a result of over-speeding and overtaking errors,” said Chingwe.
National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told TellZim News that investigations were still in progress to determine the factors leading to the most recent 129km peg accident.
Some evidence at hand, however, suggests that human error played a big role in that horrible mishap.
It is said the driver of the commuter omnibus flashed his vehicle’s lights at the haulage truck, thereby disorienting the truck driver who then encroached into the wrong lane, resulting in a high-impact head-on collision.
The truck dragged the omnibus for some metres metres off the road, killing all the six men who were on board.
Some drivers that spoke to TellZim News said there was a possibility that recklessness was the main cause of the accident.
“The truck driver should have reduced speed and shifted his gaze a bit to the side when the commuter omnibus driver flashed his lights. These are the basic lessons we are taught in driving school. The fact that the truck dragged the omnibus tells you a lot about the speed at which it was travelling.
“Unless the truck driver was sleeping on the steering, the possibility is that the two drivers became just stubborn and failed to give each other way, resulting in the unnecessary loss of lives,” said one motorist.
Some pothole-feeling work has been done on the stretch of the road but there is obviously a lot of work that needs to be done as an increase of traffic in the festive season is expected to cause more losses of life.