Stop the road carnage!
The rate at which road accidents are happening in the country is, to say the least, scary, considering the number of lives that have been lost.
Yesterday, four students from Mzuzu Technical College and Mzuzu University died after a bus they were travelling in was involved in an accident at Mtakataka in Dedza District.
The students were coming from Malawi University of Science and Technology in Thyolo District where, the previous day, they had participated in a National Bank of Malawi Mo626 National Collage Championship.
Lest we forget that some 23 soldiers died in the Northern Region while some people also died in another road accident recently. All these accidents have happened within a month.
Even more chilling are the statistics that emerged from the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS), indicating that 329 lives have been lost this year alone between July and September.
We are talking about lives of people within the most productive age-bracket being lost here.
Most of the accidents are happening due to mechanical failure, a problem that is surely linked to the road worthiness of the motor vehicles plying the roads and, indeed, the poor state of the death traps that our roads have become especially in this rainy season.
We also hasten to add that corruption has also compromised the quality of driving lessons and driving schools. Acquiring a driving licence is very easy these days. Most vehicles that are not roadworthy have certificates of fitness.
Alcoholism has also contributed to the problem. There are so many shortcuts all over and this is a price we are paying as a nation.
DRTSS recently tried to move in to reduce cases of accidents by introducing hefty fines for motorists but the government intervened to put the fines on hold. There is no research that suggests that hefty fines
are the long-lasting solution to road accidents. Road accidents happen due to a combination of factors. Imposing fines is just a minor solution.
Even if the fines were introduced, road accidents would still have persisted because we, as a nation, have not addressed the root cause.
The government needs to do serious soul-searching on the source of the road accidents. There has to be a holistic approach to the issue of road accidents; otherwise, we will remain a nation in mourning.
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