Monday, September 22, 2014
Stakeholders: Improper vehicles’ inspection, a cause of numerous fatal accidents
As the government is striving to look for possible ways in order to curb increased number of accidents occurring in the country, experts have revealed that, improper vehicle maintenance services contributes to a greater extent the occurrence of accidents in some parts in the country. Basing the idea with normal research findings, most accidents are caused by careless driving despite having improved roads, and this accounts for 80 percent of all fatal accidents in most roads all over the world. The situation is exacerbated by inexperience, over speeding while being under the influence of intoxication through alcoholic beverages or drugs causing plain recklessness. The majority of road crashes are caused by human error, a transport stakeholder has said. Speaking in an exclusive interview this week in Dar es Salaam, the Executive Secretary of Tanzania Bus Owners Association (TABOA) Mustafa Mwalongo said that, there is no thorough check up done onto vehicles especially buses plying long routes in upcountry regions. “Lack of vehicles’ inspection is a core issue and traffic police officers ignores this as part of their duties to ensure that, a bus is safer for passengers it carries on board, and this should be thoroughly checked as required after and before a driver set out for long journey”, he said. However, he revealed that, “it is surprising to note that none of them even cares to monitor vehicles’ movements” he said adding that, traffic police only inspects head lights, side indicators together with others driving licenses. According to him, police officers sometimes tend to be busy on vehicles axels at weigh bridge points and remain comfortable as in those areas they are more involved in corruption. Commenting on the re-introduction of speed governors as a way to reduce numerous accidents, Mwalongo noted that, these would not work as most drivers do tamper with their working mechanism into making them rather ineffective. He recalled in 1997 when the government first introduced a directive which required all vehicles to put speed governors on their vehicles in a bid to control over speeding, despite of their certification by Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), but were later on discovered that the devices were defective and could not work as required. Although they managed to control over speeding from 80 Km to 50 Km per hour, but bus owners and crook drivers tampered with them and reverted into their normal driving style that instigates high speeding rates as if they had no such devices put on their buses, he said. He also noted that, in 2011, the government again issued a six month ultimatum to drivers and bus owners to ensure that they re-introduce speed governors an exercise that failed later as no one dared to follow up. However, Mwalongo has suggested that, once a driver is caught with an offense associated with their buses, they should not be ending up in paying fines alone, but severe punishments should be imposed to them including bus owners as a deterrent for others into committing the same. Interviewed drivers have complained the habit by traffic police offers saying that, are inciting to a certain extent when it comes to the issue of ascertaining their driving licenses which in most cases have been issued to unprofessional drivers whom they also accuse of attaining such documents through back doors. On the other hand, drivers have also criticized the indecent behaviors by some traffic police officers that results into increased corruption a situation which has made them not to take any action against defaulting drivers once caught with an offence of breaking traffic rules. Hamidu Shabani, a driver who plies between Arusha-Moshi-Dar route confidently revealed bad habit by some of his fellow drivers who are given money by passengers to quickly take them into their destination. He disclosed that, there are some Arusha based businessmen who are fond of using their money to bribe drivers and even traffic police on the way to rush them quickly to their destinations in a bid to collect their business selling materials and get back on time. He noted that, the trend psychologically confuses money receivers and abide by their consents automatically without a fuss, a factor that cause over speeding which ultimately ends up in fatal accident. In order to end the escalating trend, however, he has suggested the government should allow 24 hour movements of vehicles including buses to operate effectively so as to give more time for businessmen to travel move freely at their own will. Another driver, Joshua Makweta has thrown a blame to the government for having registered more trucks without having expanding the infrastructure notably roads.
However, he is on the view of the fact that, trucks are the main cause of accidents on the way through which they travel. He has however, suggested that, there should be a control of overflowing trucks which should also be limited in order to reduce their number, otherwise they should be allowed to travel during night hours. But his argument was contradicted by an economist who preferred anonymity saying that, trucks plays a crucial role for the economic development of any country in the world as they enable the easier transportation of goods from one place to another other than passengers who mostly travel for personal interest. Another driver Jumanne Ally suggested regular check up on vehicles parts such as tires which runs on mostly dilapidate roads causing their friction on road surfaces that results into bursting. “Your vehicle might seem fine from where you sit, but knowing what’s going on with all of its parts will ensure that you have the greatest amount of safety possible when you are driving”, he asserted. Habibu Selemani (23) a form six student studying at Kasese High School in Uganda was cornered by this writer at his home Gongo la Mboto on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam city and noted that, he used to encounter miserable and fatalities when travelling from Dar to Kampala via Nairobi,Kenya before he connects his journey to Kasese in western part of Uganda. Describing the trend of drivers’ behaviours on the way he says that, passengers are at risk position and virtually comes to the help of the lord God when they reach to their destinations. He says that, he used to encounter many road accidents and asks himself how they should be controlled. According to him, a mere fines imposed to defaulters is not enough but rather they could deserve severe punishment including life imprisonment. An automobile engineer of the car dealers in the city, Samson Mbwana says that, even with today’s technology and a greater emphasis on automobile safety, accidents continue to occur. He says, the causes of vehicle accidents are pretty varied, but it is important for everyone as members of the motoring public to understand the most common causes of vehicle accidents so that joint concerted efforts could be reinforced to prevent them. No product is ever made perfectly, and vehicles are no different. Automobiles have hundreds of parts, and any of those defective parts can cause a serious car accident. Many automakers have had problems with design defects in the past. According to Eng. Mbwana, there are also a number of non-driver related causes of car accidents such as the physical condition of the roadway, weather conditions can play a significant role in causing a car accident. “If a road is improperly maintained can make a roadway slippery, again affecting driving conditions, that may make it difficult to maintain traction or to stop in time for a hazard”, he said adding that, weather can also impair visibility. The mechanical performance of the vehicle can also play a role in the cause of accidents. A failure to properly maintain the brake system or tires may impede the ability to stop a car in advance of a hazard. While advancements are being made every day to improve the safety and efficiency of automobiles on the road, problems with the design and functionality of the vehicles themselves sometimes referred to as product liability is one of the top causes of vehicles accidents on the road. Manufacturers are required by law to design vehicles that meet a minimum safety standard and also are required to undergo regular inspection for a “warrant of fitness” to ensure that the main components of the vehicle are safe. According to After sales Manager of Scania Tanzania Ltd, Steve Miller regular, regular motor vehicle check up keeps them look much stronger to withstand the road conditions depending on their geographical area. He says improper vehicle check up makes them lose control on the way an aspect that ends up in a number of collisions that result into fatal accidents. Miller said in an exclusive interview in his office in Dar es Salaam mid this week that, his company offers their customers with a one year guarantee maintenance service of vehicle which is carried out at their State-of-the-art facility which is located in the city. However, he further said that, after one year has elapsed, a customer might decide either to continue with their services or might decide to look for other service givers and this depends on their own wish. Speaking for Surface and Marine Transport Authority (SUMATRA), the authority’s Communication Manager David Mziray said that, his organization has set to work in collaboration with police force in the country to control the menace. He told the Guardian in telephone interview on Thursday this week that, among the strategies in place over the control involves vehicles inspection, drunkenness and drivers’ employment status. The latter is in a bid to reduce stress which has grown among them at a high level. He said these are among the deliberations reached upon between them and police as well as bus owners and according to him, will also involve training for passengers as part of the campaign dubbed ‘Raise up your voice’ that aims to prevent accidents in order to enlighten them how to raise up their voices wherever they could see the impending danger while traveling.