Bulawayo Residents have bemoaned the increase in road accident cases in the city amid speculations that most of them have been due to load shedding which has affected traffic lights.
Zimbabwe is currently going through critical power shortages which has seen some residential areas parts of the central business districts going for many hours without power.
Load shedding usually affects the morning and evening peak hours.
In an interview with CITE, Joel Msimanga said most of road accidents taking place in the city occur during peak hours.
“Most of these accidents that we recently see happening occur during peak hours and these are the times when power will be off.
“Most drivers fail to observe simple road rules during that time they are mostly concerned about rushing where ever they are going forgetting that they are endangering other drivers and passengers,” Msimanga said.
He said some drivers are impatient and fail to observe traffic regulations.
“Some drivers are impatient and fail to give way when traffic lights are off, that way it endangers some drivers who have right of way. If you look at Matopos road, that road has had five accidents in a row since (Friday) last week, drivers have become reckless in a way,” Msimanga said.
Another resident, Adelaid Nkomo said the prevalence of unlicenced drivers has exacerbated the problem.
“There is no day when I go to work and do not experience these accidents especially at intersections where there are traffic lights, these are the points were we are supposed to be safe but they are now a danger area.
“Yes they won’t be working but at times if you notice these young age group are the one driving especially these small Honda fits, these are the common causes of accidents.
“Their speed is just too much at times, I do not know where they get these licenses because some of the drivers you just see that they are very young,” Nkomo said.
She said most times public transport operators are the one who fail to give way.
“Most of the times kombi drivers or pirate taxi drivers are the ones who fail to give way to other motorists,” Nkomo said.
A commuter omnibus driver, Conel Moyo said faulty traffic lights are the cause of road accidents.
“The issue is that at times as drivers we forget that traffic lights are off, so to me I will be just rushing to ferry passengers hence during that moment fail to give away to other drivers as well.
“If only maybe if it was possible for traffic lights to be functioning even if there is load shedding, that way It was going to reduce some cases of these accidents because almost every day there is a case even though at times nobody dies but it’s a sign that sooner than later we will have fatalities,” Moyo said.
“I will give an example of Khami road at theWestern Commonage intersection, those traffic lights have become a danger zone as cars hit each other almost daily,” he said.
However, Bulawayo acting police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said most accidents were happening in the morning due to speeding.
“We have not yet gathered information for the period of June but we have received reports of most accidents occurring during 1am to 5am, these are the wee hours of the morning and it shows that people will be drinking and driving hence speeding.
“During the month of May alone we recorded 425 accidents happening in Bulawayo, with 307 taking place in the CBD,” Inspector Ncube said.
“Out of these 5 were fatal,129 were serious accidents and 291 were minor”.
Inspector Ncube appealed to motorists not to drink under the influence of alcohol.