The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) has said over 1 000 people die on the country’s roads every year.
DRTSS says some accidents go unreported, but a continental trend reveals nearly every fatal accident accounts for five serious injuries and 15 minor ones.
The toll has jolted the directorate to embark on a fact-finding trip on a section of the country’s longest traffic corridor M1 Road, in the Northern Region.
Travelling from Mzuzu to Mzimba on Saturday, principal road transport officer Leonard Ntonya, together with Roads Authority (RA) engineer Dominic Mwafulirwa and traffic police officer Mike Mauaboma isolated and visited eight perilous spots with the highest carnage.
Said Ntonya: “The black spots include Geisha, Elamuleni, Gwayi, Kadikechi, Kamuzu View, Mzimba Bridge, Luviri and Kazingilira.”
In an interview, he explained: “The police service receives and produces accident reports every day. The black spot analysis helps us to understand the causes and come up with lasting remedies for stretches where accidents occur on a regular basis.”
Ntonya said massive vandalism of traffic signs has left the road through Viphya Plantation, popularly known as Chkangawa Forest, with numerous death traps for first-timers.
Other major risk factors include speeding on perilous corners and loss of control of overloaded trucks that are usually not roadworthy, as they grapple with steep slopes, he said.
Replacing the road signs and painting speed limits on the road surfaces could help mitigate the situation, observed Mwafulirwa.
He also recommended inclusion of speed bumps to act as a wake-up call for cruising motorists although sights of vehicles speeding over decks of ramble strips at Linthipe in Dedza are common.
Said Mauaboma: “Raising awareness among road users could also help save lives.”
The inspection was part of the Africa Road Safety Day which is commemorated on the third Sunday of November since 2012.
The national commemoration will take place in Blantyre on Sunday, according to the directorate. n