You are currently viewing Include engineers in accident probes

Include engineers in accident probes

Dear editor,
ON WEDNESDAY I attended the burial of some of the 26 road traffic accident victims in Kabwe. On our way to the funeral one of the vehicles which was in the convoy for the First Lady skidded off the road in an attempt to avoid hitting a beacon set at a mounted police checkpoint.
My immediate thoughts were about the growth in the number of people dying and seriously getting injured. Why are we failing to find solutions or mitigate the accidents?
Police road accident reports normally just give some information about the factors or causes that contribute to accidents not pointing out the real cause. This data should be treated with utmost caution by RTSA, an agency responsible for introduction of safety measures on our roads.
The police investigating the accidents are unlikely to have been trained as engineers, and they may therefore underestimate the contribution made by road engineering problems.
Their main aim is usually to determine whether or not there has been a traffic violation. The emphasis of their investigation is likely placed on detecting human error and apportioning blame such as careless driving, overspeeding, drunken-driving and overloading.
RTSA and traffic police should have civil engineers who are the road engineers, and road designers and constructors under their accident investigative wing.
To alleviate the road accident epidemic we need first and foremost to establish the real causes not this apportioning blame investigation that has been going on.
This needs to be taken seriously as road traffic accidents are statistically ranked the third highest cause of deaths in Zambia.