Depression, fatigue behind horrible road accidents, investigations show

INVESTIGATIONS into some of the deadliest road carnages in the previous years have established depression, fatigue and family pressure as among the key factors behind the tragedies.

The traffic accidents include that of May 4, 2018, which claimed five lives and injured nine other people, involving a head-on collision between New Force Bus Services Company’s bus and Toyota Hiace.

The bus that plied the Dar es Salaam-Tunduma route collided with the Hiace that was heading to Morogoro Town.

The Road Safety and Environment Manager at the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA), Mr Geoffrey Silanda made the observation during the 2019 Road Safety Journalism Fellowship Training in Dodoma over the weekend.

According to Mr Silanda, the frequency of crashes prompted the formation of a committee as per the requirement of the law to investigate the matter and come up with solutions to prevent further tragedies.

He cited the New Force bus clash, saying investigations revealed that the driver of the hiace was driving recklessly. Mr Silanda pointed out that the hiace driver was going through family conflicts, subjecting him to depression.

“The driver was under the influence of family pressure, his mother was admitted in hospital and he therefore needed to take more trips to acquire money for the medical bills.

“For drivers of this kind of vehicles, they need to make as many trips as possible to make more money,” he said. Most of them, as a result, usually drive while they are already tired because of making endless trips to maximise earnings and end up driving recklessly, leading to accidents, said the manager.

He said some of the recommendations by the committee to address traffic accidents include capacity building for drivers, resolving road signs challenges and control of over speeding.

Others include formation of fatigue management for drivers, vehicle modification challenges and strengthening vehicle maintenance systems.

Meanwhile, World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative Dr Tigest Mengestu has said deaths, injuries and economic losses arising from road accidents are largely avoidable through enforcement of an established set of simple interventions.

The interventions include speed control, drink–driving limits, motorcycle helmets, seat belts and child restraints.

“Additionally, countries also need to ensure that good road design, safe vehicle design and good emergency health services are part of road safety measures,” said Dr Mengestu.

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