An accident is defined as an unplanned, unexpected, and undesigned (not purposefully caused) event which occurs suddenly and causes injury or loss, a decrease in value of the resources, or an increase in liabilities.
While this general definition holds, it is also acknowledged by experts that most accidents, especially in developing countries are area a result of human error.
Yet there are motorists who go to the extreme to argue that accidents are so defined because they happen without one’s volition. For them however careful a driver is on the road, when fate decides so, an accident will happen.
For them, there is little that human beings can do to prevent an accident. They do have a point though, for indeed a number of accidents are beyond human control, but it is also true that better tools and designs are being developed daily to lower the rate of such accidents.
But we are talking of the general daily happenings on our roads, seas whose prevention could be achieved if awareness campaigns are mounted as well as better monitoring of behaviour of motorists.
For according to researchers, at least over 80 per cent of accidents are caused by human omission or commission and are thus preventable.
According to Traffic Police reports, road accidents claimed the lives of 3,582 people last year while more than 20,000 were injured with pedestrians and cyclists being the most affected.
More than 1,690 pedestrians were killed, while over 1,005 passengers also perished in bus accidents.
It is against this background that we take note of the move by some members of society who have noted some of the risky things motorists do while on the steering wheel which literally ‘invite’ accidents and decided to spearhead a campaign against them.
The Rotary Club of Dar es Salaam has teamed with the police to campaign against driving while on the mobile phone or texting.
The campaign runs under the slogan: ‘Driving + Phone = Death.
The president of the Rotary Club Sharmila Bhatt said the aim was to create awareness against what are slowly becoming a chronic problem and a danger to lives of motorists countrywide.
She pointed out that a driver talking on a mobile phone is four times more likely to get into an accident, while the one who would be texting was eight times more likely to get into an accident.
Indeed we see a lot more risky acts by motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians which invite accidents to happen such as motorcycle riders overtaking in the wrong side of the lane, pedestrians running across a highway without checking how traffic was flowing.
Most motorcyclists carrying passengers seem to have ignored the police directive requiring them to wear helmets to protect them in case of accidents.
For us, the awareness campaign needs to be a continuous exercise, of course supported by stakeholders. What is more enforcement of the law against violations needs to be stiffer to instill discipline to those who wantonly ‘invite’ accidents for themselves and other road users.