Letters

Independence Avenue accident scene observatory report

Dear Editor,

FIND here an alternative accident scene observatory report by a team from the Zambian Roads and Highway Safety Group (ZRHSG).
The team has begun sending its team to selected accident scenes to observe what could have caused the accident.

Accident scene observation report – Independence Avenue (Lusaka)
On December 5, 2020 on Independence Avenue, around 11:00 hours, a motorist driving a BMW lost control opposite Madison House and hit into a tree causing it to break into two. Three occupants of the BMW died on the spot.
Condolences: The group offers its condolences to the family members who have lost their three loved ones and wishes to lament that one life lost on our roads is one life too many.

Accident Scene Observation
A team from the group visited the accident scene on December 6 and made the following observation of the area 200 metres within the vicinity of accident:

I. The accident occurred on a slope – the car was descending a slope when the accident occurred

II. No skid marks present – the entire stretch has no skid marks – this means the driver did not apply brakes or did not have the time to apply breaks

III. Pothole – About 165 metres from the accident scene there is a pot hole in the inner lane (fast lane) and directly opposite the Russian Centre (House No.66)

IV. Invisible hump/depression – About 65 metres from the accident scene and five metres from the gate of House Number 64, there is a depression/sunken earth followed by an invisible hump caused by a tree root on outer lane – cars passing on this hump experience a “nodding” kind of effect

V. Wet ground – the accident happened on a wet road after a down pour – there were presence of water puddles around the area

VI. The entire stretch of the road is wavy and in certain parts recent road patches are visible.

VII. Area prone to accidents – Eye witnesses living around the area say the stretch is prone to accidents and as recent as last month another car hit into the Madison Exit gate after losing control in the same stretch

Observatory Conclusion
The group observes that this accident could have been caused by a car in high speed hitting either the pothole and losing control or hitting both the pot hole and the invisible hump leading it to lose control.
The group is concerned about the fact that this chassis (body) of the car split into two. This should never happen as this structure is expected to withstand impact.
The group would like to call on authorities to:

A. Thoroughly investigate this accident scene in view of the two observed potholes and invisible humps.

B. Always investigate the mental health status of driver at the time of the accident and conduct personal background checks to establish other psycho-social factors that can lead a driver to lose concentration at the wheel

C. Road Development Agency to quickly work on this stretch and fix the identified bad stretches.

D. Alternatively, RDA and Road Transport and Safety Agency should place warning signs warning motorists of these bad stretches and humps /waves caused by growing tree roots.

E. That second hand cars are investigated to ensure cars that were written off based on their poor safety standards are not re-introduced in the Zambian roads

F. That the Zambian Compulsory and Standards Agency begin testing car models operating in Zambia for their safety standards and features.

G. Invest in well trained accident scene investigators to ensure accidents are thoroughly investigated and all factors considered.

H. Driving schools should improve on their defensive driving trainings to include how to drive on wet roads, damaged roads, wavy roads among other conditions unique to Zambian roads.
The group wishes to announce that its team will be visiting selected accident scenes to provide its alternative observatory reports.

MTHONISWA BANDA,
Group Admin

Zambian Roads and Highway Safety Group
Mobile: +260977 405086
Email: HighwaySafetyGroup@outlook.com

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