Over 970 people have died on Tanzania’s roads so far this year, largely at the hands of reckless drivers, traffic police announced this week.
For those doing the math, that’s an average of about 10 people killed in traffic accidents each day, according to numbers published in the Citizen newspaper.
On Friday, at least 19 people died when a speeding minibus lost control and crashed into the Kiwira River, near Mbeya.
The driver of the minibus was not licensed to take passengers on that route.
Speeding is the main source of fatal accidents, says Traffic Police Commander Mohamed Mpinga, who says approximately 2,400 people have also been injured in crashes since January.
Poor infrastructure and drivers losing control of their vehicles are other factors to be considered, says Mpinga.
Buses rushing upcountry at breakneck speeds are a key target for Mpinga.
“There is a need … to review the schedule for buses going upcountry,” he says, noting that it would be safer for buses to take two days to complete long routes.
“The current law is short of strong punishment to drivers who cause accidents negligently,” says Mpinga, who wants to see drivers punished for violating traffic laws.
A bill has been drafted to close loopholes and amend traffic laws.