Ask RTSA: FREDRICK MUBANGA
THIS week, Zambia joined the rest of the African continent in commemorating the African Statistics Week whose theme is “Better Lives with Better Economic Statistics”.
In the same vein, the country, will this Sunday (November 19, 2017) join the rest of the world in commemorating the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
Therefore, this week, the article will be focusing on looking at the current road accident statistics in Zambia as well as remembering the people that have died in road accidents.
However, the most comforting aspect is that the road safety profile of Zambia has improved as the country continues to record a reduction in the numbers of road crashes and fatalities.
Statistics indicate that road accident deaths from January to September 2017 have reduced by 20.3 percent compared to the same period in 2016. In absolute terms, 1,393 people died as a result of road traffic accidents during the latter period as compared to the same period last year when 1,748 people died respectively. Using the 2016 third quarter accident fatalities as baseline, it can be extrapolated that a total of 355 lives were saved by the third quarter of 2017.
Additionally, when we compare the period January to September 2016 and 2017, the analysis shows that there was a significant reduction in road traffic accidents from 25,009 to 22,152, translating into 11.4 percent.
And when we specifically look at the period – July to September 2017, a total of 481 lives were lost compared to 635 in 2016 under the same period. A notable decline by 24.3 percent was recorded. Thus the road safety prospects for the country look quiet bright and Zambia is on the right track of attaining the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety whose aspirations are to reduce road traffic accident deaths by 50 percent by the year 2020.
A significant decrease in the number of road traffic accident fatalities and injuries was recorded from January to September 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Although the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) has a number of road safety interventions, this reduction can also be attributed to the introduction of Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 76 of 2016 which restricts the movement of Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) at night and the enforcement strategy which now focuses on the major highways where most crashes happen.
Additionally, road safety education and publicity has played a critical role in sensitising the masses on road traffic rules and regulation which has culminated in increased levels of adherence to safety provisions on the road by all road users. The construction of safer roads by Government has also had a positive impact on improving the road safety profile for Zambia.
Hoverer, more efforts is needed by all stakeholders if Zambia is to attain an accident-free status. In this spirit, the Zambia we want is one without road fatalities and injuries. To achieve this, we must aim for a drastic reduction in road traffic accidents because they have devastating effects on society and families and also cause great economic lose to the country.
Therefore as Zambia joins the rest of the world in commemorating the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic (accident) Victims this Sunday, the focus should be on engaging more stakeholders in preventing road traffic crashes.
This occasion should also be devoted to recognising the efforts of dedicated country men and women who have worked tirelessly to prevent and save lives of accident victims, some of whom have died in the process of saving other people’s lives.
The commemoration will be held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka and the rest of the country should offer thoughts and prayers to all those who have lost loved ones through road crashes.
The theme of the 2017 commemoration is “2020 Target: Reduce Road Fatalities and Serious Injuries by 50 percent”.
Road traffic crashes kill nearly 2,000 people every year in Zambia and injure or disable more.
To this end, RTSA is committed to generating strong and unified support by the entire road safety community and all others who are concerned about road safety, and to ensure that Government agrees to specific measures to tackle this challenge.
Therefore, in the coming few weeks, we will be launching the development, installation and implementation of the Road Safety Management System that will reduce traffic accidents in the country.
The author is Head – Public Relations
Road Transport and Safety Agency