Samia for modern road safety checks

Wednesday November 24 2021
Samia pic

Preident Samia Suluhu Hassan speaking after officiating the start of Road Safety Week at Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium in Arusha yesterday. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

By Zephania Ubwani

Arusha. President Samia Suluhu Hassan has agreed to a request to equip the traffic police with modern gear to curb escalating road tragedies.

She said here yesterday that modern equipment would enhance road safety in that culprits would be easily detected and booked.

She also hinted on the need to review legislation on traffic offenses, saying the existing laws should not be a hindrance to the fight against road carnage.

President Hassan revealed this when responding to a request from the Traffic Police for the unit to be equipped with modern gear to effectively undertake its task.

The appeal was made before the President graced the opening of the National Road Safety Week which is being marked here at the national level.

She regretted that 90 percent of road accidents in Tanzania were due to human errors such as drunken driving and sheer negligence by drivers and other road users.

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Only a low percent of the accidents were due to the poor condition of the vehicles (3.2 percent) while weather-related factors accounted for 1.3 percent.

President Hassan also expressed her concern on the rising deaths of motor cycle accidents, saying 2,200 riders were killed in the last five years alone.

Traffic Police Commandant Wilbroad Mutafungwa suggested that improved technical gear was now more wanting than ever in the fight against the road accidents.

These have to include introduction of vehicle inspection plants and installation of CCTV cameras on major highways and key roads in the cities.

“With CCTV cameras, you need not deploy a large number of traffic police along the highways for patrol,” he said at the Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium.

The cameras would assist provide evidence against the culprits and, in so doing, reduce complaints often made by motorists of being victimized by the law enforcers.

SSP Mutafungwa also appealed for subsidy from the government for the National Road Safety Council which, according to him, has no budget.

President Hassan called on the Council to work closely with the private sector in addressing its budget challenges.

Earlier, the Traffic Commandant gave a breakdown of traffic accidents since 2018 which showed a reduction of both the accidents and fatalities.

While 1,788 deaths were recorded in 2018, the figure dropped by 20 percent to 1,440 fatalities in 2019 and went down further to 1,270 in 2020.

From January to September this year, some 949 deaths have been recorded, he said, attributing most of the road calamities to negligence and drunken driving.

He added that despite repeated pleas from the authorities, including the traffic police, motor cycle riders neglect wearing helmets to save their lives.

Over speeding, failure to put on safety belt, wrong over taking, ignorance of pedestrians and use of phones while driving are other causes of accidents.

Hamza Khamis Chilo, the deputy minister for Home Affairs said the government has prepared a five year (2021-2030) strategic plan to curb road fatalities.

A recent survey indicated that motorcycles were responsible for the majority of road traffic accidents accounted 53 percent, followed by motor vehicle 42 percent and bicycles 3.7 percent.