AT least 17 people died in road accidents on Christmas Eve raising the festive season death toll to an alarming 64 up from 57 for 2013.
The accidents, which police are blaming on poor driving, damaged vehicles and miscalculation by some motorist before over taking, have raised fears that this could turn out to be the bloodiest Christmas in years.
National police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said from December 15 to Christmas day 111 people had been injured in road accidents up from 82 recorded in 2013 during the same corresponding period of the season.
“This is very worrying to us as police; we are witnessing some unnecessary accidents caused by exited people and in just 24 hours, we have recorded 17 deaths compared to nine recorded last year,” he said.
“As police, we are appealing to all drivers to exercise caution on the road in order to safeguard life and prevent accidents,” he said.
While the police cite poor driving and damaged vehicles as accident causes the people are blaming the government for failing to maintain the roads despite collecting taxes and tollgate charges.
Nyathi said within 24 hours of the Christmas Eve, 46 people were injured in road accidents while 8656 tickets were issued to offending motorists by police officers manning roadblocks dotted countrywide.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is urging all motorists to travel during day time as statistics have shown that twenty nine (29) fatal road accidents occurred during the night especially between 1801 to 0001 hours and 0001 to 0600 hours,” he said.
“As we celebrate the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays, Police are warning those drivers who will attempt to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol that they will be dealt with in terms of the law,” Nyathi said.
The police said this year, cumulatively 829 accidents have been recorded against 681 recorded last year during the same corresponding period of the season thus from December 15 to 25 mid-morning.
“Passengers are encouraged to check all road sides after disembarking from public service vehicles,” he said.