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Road accidents fall 44pc in 2017, new report says

Dar es Salaam. The traffic police say road accidents in the country declined by 43.9 per cent from January to November 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. As only few days are remaining to finish the year, Ms Theopista Mallya, assistant commissioner of the traffic police in the country, told The Citizen in an interview that, road accidents from January to November dropped by 4,016 to 5,135 from 9,151 recorded in the same period in 2016. According to the Crime and Traffic Incidents Statistics Report of January to December, 2016, road accidents increased to 9,856 in the year from 8,337 reported in the same period in 2015.

Ms Mallya said in the year ending November 2017, deaths and injuries caused by road accidents also dropped by 615 (20.5 per cent) and 3,285 (39.3 per cent) respectively. Expounding on that, she noted that deaths caused by road accidents dropped from 2,994 in November 2016 to 2,379 in November 2017, while the number of injured persons decreased from 8,360 to 5,075, respectively. The 2016 report also shows a decrease by 212 (6.1 per cent) deaths to 3,256 from 3,468 deaths recorded in 2015, while the number of injured persons declined by 485 (5.1 per cent) to 8,958 from 9,443 respectively.

On the other hand, Ms Mallya said road accidents, deaths and injuries caused by motorcycles also saw a huge decrease by 43.8, 18 and 50.1 per cent respectively in 2017, despite the fact that motorcycles remained the leading cause of road accidents. According to the traffic police statistics, motorcycles caused about 1,338 accidents, 997 injuries and 672 deaths between January and November 2017, a decrease from 2,379, 1,998 and 820 respectively in the same period recorded in 2016. “At the moment, most road accident cases we receive are caused by motorcycles and private cars,” she noted, adding that there was also a huge decrease in accidents involving commuter buses and trucks. In the 2016 report, accidents and injuries caused by motorcycles decreased by 96 (3.5) per cent and 2,019 deaths by (50.3) per cent respectively.

Reasons for the decrease Ms Mallya attributed the decrease to traffic police efforts to enforce road traffic regulations and raising public awareness. “We have been enforcing road traffic regulations and raising public awareness through various programmes,” she told this reporter. She noted that the success in a decrease in road accidents was influenced by the implementation of the first and second phases of national road safety operations and Road Safety Week campaigns conducted countrywide during the year.

According to her, the Police Force the first phase was launched in August 2016 to February 2017 and the second phase, which started on July and is expected to end this December. The Police Force collaborated with the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) and the Tanzania National Roads Authority (Tanroads) to ensure all road users abided by traffic regulations, while enjoying their rights. Operations included checks on carriage capacity of vehicles, speed monitoring and safe driving requirements, according to her. “Some motorists, who violated road traffic regulations faced legal action, while others lost their licences during the implementation of both phases,” she noted.

According to her, 10 drivers lost their licences for defying road safety regulations. “We cannot tolerate any one, who goes against road safety regulations since it is not our duty to educate drivers on roads, if they need education they have to attend Road Safety Week campaigns or visit our offices,” she said. Ms Mallya noted that, they had been organising several road Safety Weeks to raise public awareness on road safety. Such efforts have made road users abide by road safety regulations.

Planning for 2018 The traffic police have also put in place three strategies to curb road accidents. These include installing cameras, motorcycle and private car special operations and the drive safely on weekend approach.

“These strategies will help minimise road accidents. We decided to come up with new strategies for various reasons,” the traffic police boss told The Citizen. She said, by next year cameras would be installed on roads starting with the road from Dar es Salaam to Mbeya, monitoring speed and identifying sources of accidents if there was any.

She added that, although there were so many speed guard machines on main roads that were capturing the speed of vehicles, still cameras were needed for efficiency and effectiveness. “We are struggling to monitor speed and identify the culprits or the source of the accident because many drivers caught in such cases often deny what they are accused of,” she said, adding that using cameras would be easy and practical. The traffic police have also designed a special operation that will focus on enforcing traffic laws and creating public awareness for motorcycle and private car owners next year.

“At least 7 in every 10 road accidents we receive everyday are caused by motorcyclists and private car drivers. That is why we plan to mount a special operation to help them,” she said. According to her, the strategy will inspect drivers, who drive without a certificate that shows the background of traffic knowledge as well as educating them on various road safety issues.

The traffic police plan to establish the drive safely on weekend operation, which aims at monitoring those who drive under the influence of alcohol.

According to the traffic police, most accident incidents occur on weekends as some people drive under the influence of alcohol.

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