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Texting while driving is against the law

Alpha Media Holdings chairman Trevor Ncube

Approximately five people die on our roads every day. Reflect on that for a moment. A staggering 77% of the fatalities and injuries involve economically active people. It is estimated that road accidents cost Zimbabwe 3% of GDP. For perspective, tourism contributes 4,25% to GDP.

These are sobering statistics. These deaths of our mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers are preventable. Everyone who uses his/her phone while driving is a potential contributor to this carnage.

According to research, top on the common causes of accidents are drivers who are distracted because they are texting, talking on the phone or eating. This is shocking behaviour. Phones have somehow turned into indispensable gadgets but have devastating consequences on driving.

But we all can do something about it. Are you prepared to be a change agent? Change begins with you and it begins with me. Stop using your phone while driving.

In Zimbabwe it is illegal to text or phone while driving and yet almost every driver on our roads does it. Breaching of this law actually attracts a level five penalty or a fine, or both. Most of the time the police are nowhere to be seen to enforce this law and, on the few occasions they stop a driver for this, they are quickly given a bribe and walk away. This is common police behaviour whenever they catch a motorist breaching the Highway Code.

Many motorists seem to think seat belts are optional for themselves and their children. It is not a sign of love to have children in the front seat, on your lap or standing in-between seats. Children should be in the back seat with their seat belts properly fastened.

We need heavy penalties for road infringements and a professional police force. Unlicensed drivers and all defective vehicles must be taken off our roads.

But in all this, where are the politicians? This is a serious campaign issue that MPs should articulate and ensure is decisively dealt with. Recently we saw a commonality of purpose regarding drug and substance abuse; the same approach should be adopted to bad behaviour on the roads.

  • Trevor Ncube is Alpha Media Holdings chairman

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