Road Traffic Is The Leading Cause Of Death Among Children And Young People Worldwide.

“It is urgent to address road safety for a number of reasons among them is because low speeds saves lives”.
By Jabulani chisipo and Anyway Yotamu.
HARARE – World Health Organisation ( WHO )’s technical officer Dr Edmore Munongo says road traffic carnage is causing more death on children and young people between the age of 5 to 29 years old.
Gaining political commitment and awareness of the public to make sure members of the public know, understand and act in line with new regulations of 30 Km/h is a challenge, he said.
Another challenge being the building adequate infrastructure to support policies.
Dr Munongo said this whilst speaking at a symposium to commemorate the 6th United Nations ( UN ) Global Road Safety Week that was held in Harare this week under the national theme: “Low speed Cities save lives”,and the UN theme: “Streets for Life # Love 30”. Senior government officials from Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Attorney General’s Office, civil society and other stakeholders attended the event.
“Every year 1,35 million people die from road traffic worldwide. Today it’s the leading cause of death for children and young people between 5 to 29 years old” he said.
It is urgent to address road safety for a number of reasons among them is because low speeds saves lives.
According to statistics everyday 3000 children and young people are killed or seriously injured on the world’s roads. A child hit by a car at 30km/h (20mph) can survive, Hit at 80km/h (50mph) most will die. Speed kills.
The 2020 Stockholm Declaration, adopted by governments worldwide calls for a focus on livable streets and in line with available evidence a maximum road travel of 30km/h where vulnerable road users and vehicle mix.
On the progress so far in the Southern African region: Botswana, Malawi, Namibia and Zambia the advocacy of their local leaders led to legislation to implement 30 Kilometres per hr speed limits around schools.
On the Zimbabwean situation Vision 2030 and National Development Strategy ( NDS1 ) has prioritised infrastructural development including roads; the National Health Strategy ( NHS ) has put reduction to injuries due to road traffic accidents as one of its priorities.
Dr Manungo gave some reasons on why it was urgent to address road safety among them: it’s urgent for public health, by walking and cycling, and encouraging health lifestyles. Livable streets are more crucial than us we respond to COVID-19.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Paul Nyathi said “Our drivers as we talk road safety let’s also recognise the road infrastructure – there are potholes, gullies on our roads, but you will find drivers speeding. We should promote collective responsibility on the roads and save lives.”
There is need to prioritise road safety in areas of life.
And in dealing with road safety it is important not to be selective but should to be equal.
Assistant Commissioner Nyathi reminded the participants that as they commemorate this global week, what is it that they are doing to contributing and taking action regarding road safety.
“Every morning and hour people are getting injured because of road accidents. When talking of road safety is it sinking in our hearts and minds” he stressed.
Zimbabwe Union of Drivers and Conductors ( ZUDAC ) director and spokesperson Mr Frederick Maguramhinga said “We want to see more ZRP designated teams to go on our highway with speed trap gadgets as drivers flash-out to each other. We want to see presence of police ZRP may you increase police enforcement in all these places where we have high fatalities.”
Also he noted that the attitudes of employers can affect achieving road safety because they gave their employees tight target to achieve.
President of Passengers Association of Zimbabwe ( PAZ ) Mr Tafadzwa Goliath told that his association advocate for passengers rights and safety when using public transport, and to achieve that they work with other stakeholders such as the police, the insurance sector among others.
Also he said “In high density suburbs we are experiencing more deaths because there no humps.”
People who live along Harare – Bulawayo road on daily / weekly basis are loosing lives due to speeding drivers who are causing road traffic carnage – something must be done to either to introduce humps even at near their schools or humps near the schools citing Mbare and Mabvuku as examples.
Acting TSCZ MD Mr Clifford Gobo urged PAZ to work with relevant organisations and said they “ you have a lot of work to do. Looking at the congestion in Harare they go to undesignated areas. They have right to go where they want and police have right to enforce.”
Zimbabwe Public Transporters Association ( ZPTA ) Mr Shelton Mudyaro said to alleviate a situation should look at the cause in order to deal with that situation. “The challenge of standing at the undesignated places, for example suspension of kombis have led to transport crisis. You have to just control them.”
“We will be in harmony with passengers carried at designated places ZUPCO needs to be complemented”
He said he really appreciate PAZ and its presence at the symposium and encourage to go and do the right thing.
“I am appealing to your rights you have responsibility to discharge so Zimbabwe to be a better place” he added.
According to director of Youth Alliance for Safer Cities, Tatenda Churu “Road safety is a global urgency like climate change. It’s you and me who can mitigate the effects of.”
They advocate for safe transport within the cities, and hold dialogue with communities and there is need to take it to higher level.
Gobo said there is need to make this a national agenda rather reaching out to the urban only.
Gobo in his welcome remarks said “Road safety is everyone’s responsibility that’s why we at TSCZ we find it necessary to bring people from different backgrounds together.”
The 6th UN Global Safety Week is celebrated on 17 to 23 May to mobilise leaders and communities to work together to make roads safer in the lead to the launch of Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021 to 2030.
Legal officer in transport ministry Ms Hwacha on her part said “As the parent ministry we are there to assist with amendments on road safety.”
In his welcome remarks Mr Clifford Gobo, said “Road safety is everyone’s responsibility that’s why we at TSCZ we find it necessary to bring people of different backgrounds together.”
TSCZ official Mr Ernest Muchena said “We have a lot of partners in the fight so we have speed reduced to 30km/h.”
Dr Manungo his presentation recommended for “Political commitment and advocates for safer speed limits to save lives to make our communities healthier, greener and more livable,” and “Mobilise financial and human resources to make our roads safer.”

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