This year’s Christmas Day celebrations turned tragic for 11 people who died in as many accidents on the country’s roads, with the Central Region accounting for six of the deaths.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said in an interview yesterday that the 11 accidents were recorded across the four policing regions of South, Centre, North and East.
In contrast, he said nine people died in 12 road accidents during the Christmas period covering December 24 to December 26 last year.
On a positive note, Kadadzera attributed the slight reduction in the number of road accidents over the period to measures by Malawi Police Service and Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) to reduce the numbers of accidents and fatalities through enforcement of road safety initiatives.
He said most of the accidents were linked to exceeding speed limits and drink-and-drive. He said privately-owned vehicles were the major culprits while no buses were involved in the accidents as has been the case in the past.
Said Kadadzera: “We recorded seven accidents in the Central Region where six people died. The South registered one accident that caused the death of two people while the Eastern and Northern regions recorded one and two accidents respectively in which one and two persons died.”
He said two of the accidents were hit-and-run.
During the period, Kadadzera said traffic police officers recorded 269 cases of over-speeding, 326 drivers were booked for exceeding passenger capacity while 45 drivers were booked for drink-and-drive offences.
The speed limit for city roads and at most trading centres in the country is 60 kilometres per hour (kph) while the maximum speed allowed on rural roads is 100kph.
In the past four years, Malawi has been registering fluctuating trends in road accidents over Christmas. Records indicate that 15 died during the period in 2016 in 16 accidents while 11 were killed in 2015.
Currently, K10 000 is the fine for careless driving even when it leads to an accident.