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Malawi commits to halve road accident cases

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Transport Minister Jacob Hara says the government is coming up with strategies that will help it reduce road accident cases by 50 percent by the year 2030.

Among other efforts, he cited the introduction of 30 kilometres per hour speed limit in built-up areas along main roads.

“This will also be the case on all one-way streets in cities. We will also reduce the acceptable level of alcohol drivers can take from 0.08 to 0.05 grams per 210 millilitres,” Hara said, after attending the United Nations (UN) High-level meeting on Road Safety in the United States last week.

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He led the Malawi delegation.

“Road accidents are the number one killer among young men, claiming 35,000 lives each day globally. 90 percent of these deaths occur in the middle and low-income countries,” Hara wrote on his Facebook page.

The minister said Africa was the worst hit, despite the continent having two percent of the global vehicle population.

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He cited poor road infrastructure and driver behaviour as some of the causes of road accidents in Malawi, a development that has contributed to the 3 percent shrinking of gross domestic product.

Hara said his ministry would also enhance road safety by including cyclist lanes and pedestrian walkways in cities and built-up areas.

The minister also hinted at plans to establish a Road Safety Authority to regulate traffic safety issues in Malawi.

“We cannot afford to compromise vulnerable lives on our roads over any drivers’ rights,” he said.

Records show that, in 2021, 718 people died in road accidents in Malawi between January and June, while 616 deaths were registered within the first six months of 2020.

Authorities have been citing high speed and alcohol as some of the major causes of accidents

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