Minister of Information, Communications and Technology Rev. Malison Ndau says it has been established that road accidents are silently killing more people than; malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS among other illnesses and advised travellers in Malawi to avoid boarding trucks, lorries and pick-ups that are designed for carrying goods, saying such vehicles risk accidents.
He said most road accidents happening in the country are a result of unauthorised vehicles known as matola in the vernacular.
“Every 30 seconds, road crashes kill one person. That is more than 3 000 lives being killed every day [globally],” the minister said.
Ndau added: “Again, economically, road accidents cost a country a lot. Road crashes in developing countries cost more than $100 billion yearly to national governments.
“Therefore, if we want to conquer accidents, let’s all use vehicles that are safe on the roads as well as finding measures of protecting road users.”
Ndau was speaking on Sunday during this year’s commemoration of Africa Road Safety Day at St. Augustine 3 Primary School ground in Mangochi on Sunday.
“Road accidents are a serious issue in Malawi, we are losing productive people who could have contributed to the development of this country, people who could one day be leaders of this country, people who are breadwinners of their families,” he said.
Ndau said government has outlined a number of programmes aimed at reducing road accidents in the country such as construction and rehabilitation of several roads, treatment of accident black spots, upgrading of Malawi Information Traffic System (MALTIS) and development of the National Road Safety Strategy, among others.
The minister urged all organisations, private and public to actively support and participate in programmes aimed at reducing road accidents.
Director of Road Traffic and Safety Services Jacques Manong’a said road traffic accidents constitute a considerable negative impact locally and internationally.
“For instance, in 2014/2015 there were 7811 reported road accidents where we lost 1114 people and in 2015/2016 there were 7018 accidents where we lost 1069 people,” he bemoaned.
Moreover, it has been observed that more passengers and pedestrians are being killed on the roads of Malawi with a large percentage of casualties aged between 18 and 44.
Manong’a said a critical analysis of the road accident situation in Malawi reveals that the total number of accidents involving motor vehicles carrying unauthorised passengers (Matola) is quite high as compared to other countries in the SADC region.
Some of the major causes to road accidents include over speeding, failing to keep the near side and overloading.
During the commemorations, the Directorate launched Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services Website and Staff uniform and Vehicle Load Strategy 2016 – 2021.
The theme for the commemoration was: “Avoid Matola, Arrive Alive” or ‘Pewani Matola, Kafikeni Amoyo’ in Chichewa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :