Road accidents cost economy K16bn

ROAD safety experts say road traffic accidents are a substantial burden on the Zambian economy and the health and well-being of the population.
Speaking in an interview, Commuter Rights Association of Zambia chairperson Aaron Kamuti said the burden of road traffic accidents cost the Zambian economy about K16.7 billion annually, equivalent to 4.7 percent of Zambia’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Mr Kamuti said the association is saddened by people’s tendency of ignoring vital road safety interventions.
He said motorists have continued to ignore the five main road safety interventions – road humps, roadside pathways, road crossing, post-crash hospital care, and alcohol breath testing.
Mr Kamuti said the association has received complaints and observed bad attitudes among motorists, especially public bus drivers who ignore these safety interventions.
“This is wrong because speed humps are there to warn you that there is something ahead so you must slow down. This is also a violation of traffic rules,” Mr Kamuti said.
He said ignoring speed humps is an offence and that traffic officers need to start charging drivers who disobey.
Mr Kamuti said road traffic accidents cause a tremendous loss of life. If no further investments are made in improving road safety and current trends continue, over the next 30 years, over 115,000 preventable deaths could occur.
He said for those who survive a road traffic accident, injuries can be debilitating and long-lasting.
“The United Nations report warns us as a country that if current trends continue, over 486,000 individuals would become permanently disabled from road traffic accidents, and an additional 7.3 million individuals would suffer injuries,” he said.
Mr Kamuti said a safer and more prosperous future is possible by investing in road traffic safety interventions and if public bus drivers continue to adhere.
He said Zambia has already begun taking steps to reduce the health and economic burden of road traffic accidents, but this needs drivers too to be careful when driving…