Tragedy struck on the roads of Zimbabwe over the holiday season, with at least 92 people killed in a total of 1,285 road traffic accidents between December 15 and 26, according to police. Of these deaths, 13 occurred on Christmas Day, and 69 of the accidents were fatal. This marks a 20% increase in fatalities from the 72 deaths recorded during the same period in 2021. At least 333 people were also injured in the accidents, which occurred during Unity Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.
According to national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, most of the accidents involved private vehicles. On Unity Day, 22nd December 2022, 107 road traffic accidents were recorded countrywide, with three being fatal and resulting in three deaths and 27 injuries. This marks a decrease from the 144 accidents and seven fatalities recorded in 2021, which resulted in 10 deaths and 26 injuries.
On Christmas Day, 25th December 2022, 119 road traffic accidents were recorded countrywide, with 10 being fatal and resulting in 13 deaths and 89 injuries. This is a decrease from the 187 accidents and 10 fatalities recorded during the same period in 2021, which resulted in 13 deaths and 35 injuries. On Boxing Day, 88 road traffic accidents were recorded countrywide, with 15 being fatal and resulting in 16 deaths and 19 injuries. This is also a decrease from the 103 accidents and five fatalities recorded in 2021, which resulted in seven deaths and 29 injuries.
Nyathi attributed the road traffic accidents to reckless driving, including speeding, overtaking errors, inattention, misjudgment, and following too closely. Many of the accidents involved drivers trying to overtake in unsafe situations, encroaching onto the lane of oncoming traffic, and showing poor observation and control of their vehicles, resulting in some accidents involving pedestrians. Private vehicles were the most common type of vehicle involved in the accidents.
The police have expressed concern over the high number of private vehicles involved in the accidents and have urged drivers to be cautious and promote safety on the roads as the holiday season continues. Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga also urged drivers to avoid speeding in his festive season statement. The police will maintain their current deployment level on the roads and in communities until January 15, 2023.