Eight people died and two others were seriously injured in road accidents nationwide in New Year holiday road accidents, police have said.
The number brings the total of deaths on the roads of Malawi during the festive period to 23 after 15 deaths were recorded during the Christmas period.
According to National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera, last year, six people died and one was seriously injured in three road accidents that were recorded during the same period.
He said this year, eight died in seven fatal accidents out of nine road accidents that were registered nationwide.
The police publicist said six accidents were recorded in the Central Region where five people lost their lives and two others seriously injured, two accidents were recorded in the South where two people died while one died in a single accident that was recorded in the Eastern Region. Northern Region recorded no accident during the period.
Kadadzera attributed the increase in accidents to irresponsible behaviour, especially driving under the influence of alcohol, by road users.
“Road users such as motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are all responsible for these accidents due to over speeding, drink and driving and failure to observe road safety rules and regulations.
“Much as we [the police] are trying to enforce the traffic rules, it is a collective responsibility of all individuals to avoid these accidents by always being cautious and follow traffic rules and regulations,” he said.
On Christmas and Boxing Day holidays celebrated from December 24 to 27 last year, 15 people died in road accidents. 11 people died in the same period in 2015.
This brings to 23 the total number of people who died in road accidents during the festive holidays.
Meanwhile, Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) has described 2016 as bad in terms of traffic accidents and offences.
DRTSS director Jacques Manong’a said in an interview even though the outlook is showing a reduced number of accidents, many people lost their lives in fatal accidents.
Said Manong’a: “2016 has not been good as anticipated, we targeted to have reduced number of accidents but we have seen increased fatalities where a single accident could claim a lot of lives.
“However, in 2017 we have lined up a number of activities which we believe if implemented effectively, could help reduce accidents.”