ZAMBIA has one of the worst road traffic accidents record in the world with almost 1,900 fatalities per year, says Zambian Road Safety Trust (ZRST), chairman Daniel Mwamba.
Mr Mwamba explained that ineffective traffic enforcement and management of road laws, inadequate road safety engineering facilities particularly for pedestrians, unlicensed drivers and lack of people’s awareness of safe use of roads were the main reasons of road accidents in Zambia.
“Road traffic today is inherently dangerous. In fact, in contrast to other modes of transport such as railways and air traffic, the road traffic system was not designed with safety as a jumping-off point,
“Consequently, in road traffic it is us humans who make the difference between hazard and safety; with little keeping us from harm should we make a mistake,” said Mr Mwamba.
Mr Mwamba said the major victims of accidents were the poorer pedestrians at 46 per cent, which often rose to 70 per cent, if it included cyclists and motorcyclists.
He said it was worrying that in Zambia, road transportation was extremely important for its economy, but that the road accidents were frighteningly rising with the construction of high-speed roads, urbanization, motorization and poor road safety.
“At the current growth rate, the number of vehicles in Zambia is expected to double in the next five years. The greatest number of fatal accidents by far involves heavy vehicles and buses, minibuses and cars hitting pedestrians.”
Mr Mwamba said road traffic accidents were a major threat to public health as well as a social and economic burden.
He said the road carnage troubled many nations in the world and Zambia was no exception.
He said the growing menace of road traffic injuries around the world were a silent and a hidden epidemic, especially in developing countries like Zambia.
Mr Mwamba however said road traffic relied more heavily on its users to prevent accidents from occurring
He said given that humans were almost inadvertently prone to making mistakes and commit violations, their behaviour was of particular interest for most road safety professionals.