PEDESTRIANS and motorcyclists continue to be over-represented in road traffic fatalities despite an overall decrease in the number of road deaths and accidents during the first nine months of 2017.
According to Traffic Police statistics, 1,906 people died in road accidents reported nationally between January and September, this year. This was an improvement from 2,503 deaths during the same period last year.
“The number of deaths dropped by 23.8 per cent while accidents also decreased from 7,128 to 4,233, which is a 40 per cent drop,” said Chief Traffic Police Commander, Mr Fortunatus Musilimu.
He attributed the sharp decline in the number of accidents and deaths to robust road safety campaigns and operations carried out by the Traffic Police department and other stakeholders. Despite the significant decrease, the rate of road deaths remains high in Tanzania with vulnerable road users, the pedestrians, being the main casualties.
The statistics show that 566 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes across the country. The figure accounted for 29.7 per cent of all 1,906 road traffic related deaths recorded between January and September.
Additionally, 624 pedestrians were treated for non-fatal crash-related injuries during that period. Meanwhile, 475 motorcyclists died in road accidents while 742 cheated death during the first nine months of this year.
Road accidents also killed 154 cyclists leaving 96 injured. “Pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists suffer the most severe consequences in collisions with other road users because they cannot protect themselves against the speed and mass of the other party,” said Inspector, Mr Yohana Mjema from Traffic Police Department.
Vehicle passengers ranked second after pedestrians in number of road deaths, with 559 deaths recorded between January and September, while 2,467 passengers suffered nonfatal injuries. A total of 144 drivers were killed in traffic crashes with 297 cheating death.
On the other hand, eight pushcart operators died and seven suffered non-fatal injuries. Kinondoni Region topped the road accidents chart after reporting 872 incidents followed by Ilala (716) and Temeke (469), while Rukwa recorded the lowest number of crashes, 30.
Last year Ilala led the statistics with 1,798 recorded between January and September, while Kinondoni ranked second with 1,642 crashes. Meanwhile, the coalition of Road Safety Stakeholders yesterday lauded the political will by the government to amend the Road Traffic Act of 1973.
Officiating the opening of the National Road Safety Week on Monday, Vice-President Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan directed relevant authorities to fast-track the amendment of the existing Road Traffic Act so that the legislation addresses current needs for road safety.
Reacting to the Vice President’s speech, World Health Organisation (WHO) National Road Safety Officer, Mary Kessy envisaged smooth progress to the proposed Road Traffic Act review given the political will demonstrated by highest level of government.
“For a couple of years there has been persistent calls from the coalition of road safety stakeholders, urging the review of the outdated Road Traffic Act, and it’s great to see the Vice-President supporting the move, it shows that the government shares our concerns and is ready to amend the road safety laws,” said Ms Kessy.
Mr Jones John, Coordinator of Legal Development Programme with Ekama Foundation and WHO said the top level commitment came at an opportune time and urged relevant authorities to swiftly work on the VP’s directives to amend the current legislation.
“Finally, we’re more optimistic that the long - awaited law reform would now be implemented. It is high time the government introduces a more stringent legislation, one that would influence motorists’ driving behaviours,” TAMWA official, Edson Sosten said.