Traffic deaths second only to malaria

On average, nearly 10 people have died each day this year on Tanzania's roads. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Nearly 10 people die each day on Tanzania’s roads. Traffic fatalities are second only to malaria as the top cause of death in Tanzania, says a new report. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Road accidents rank as the second most common cause of death in Tanzania next to malaria, says the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC.)

In 2014, 3,437 people were killed in 21,791 accidents across the country, according to the newly released 2014 LHRC Tanzania Human Rights Report.

Thousands more have been left with permanent injuries.

One of the reasons for the increase of road accidents is ignorance in road usage, says the report, pointing fingers at both drivers and pedestrians.

“The law requires that before one is issued with a driving license, he/she is supposed to produce a certificate from a certified driving school. However, this has not been much observed in practice. New drivers can now be issued with driving license without even producing evidence of driving competence.”

According to the LHRC, the rapidly growing Dar es Salaam Region accounted for over half of all road accidents in the country.

“Whereas there is greater increase of people and motor vehicles, the same cannot be said over the improvement of the infrastructure. It is thus very difficult to fathom a decrease in road accidents in such areas and the effects associated with them.”

Dar’s infrastructure was discussed in parliament earlier this week, when Works Minister John Magufuli pledged that 4.4 trillion shillings ($2.2 billion USD) is being sourced to solve congestion issues.

“It was in the 2011/12 financial year that he said the government would build flyovers at Tazara, Morocco, Ubungo, Magomeni and Selander Bridge but to date, nothing has been done and right now, he is once again cheating us that the Tazara flyover tender will be opened next month in Japan. Who is Magufuli fooling?” says shadow Works Minister, Felix Mkosamali.

Compared to 2013, the 2014 national accident rate dropped 38 percent, however the death toll only dropped by 5 percent.

Read more: Bad drivers kill 1000 since January

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