MAPUTO, More than 10,000 people died, and a further 30,000 were injured, in traffic accidents on Mozambican roads over the past six years (2011-2017), say President Felipe Nyusi.

The worst year was 2014, when traffic accidents claimed 2,040 lives. These statistics put Mozambique in fourth position in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) sub-region in terms of road fatalities, with 32 deaths per 100,000 vehicles.

President Nyusi announced these figures here Thursday at the opening session of a National Symposium on Road Safety convened to reflect on the causes of traffic accidents and to discuss strategies for improving road safety.

We cannot continue to watch this public calamity passively and calmly. More than words are needed. We have to hold responsible those who cause this disaster, said the President.

In order to understand the phenomenon, the areas where accidents occur have been mapped, with statistics on the types of vehicles involved, the days and times when most accidents happen, and their probable causes.

The findings hardly came as a surprise. Most accidents occur in the provinces with most vehicles — namely Maputo City and Maputo Province, followed by the provinces of Nampula and Sofala. The deadliest times are the weekends between 3pm and 9pm.

Nyusi said the statistic he found most alarming was the profile of the drivers;� the people most likely to be involved in accidents are men aged between 18 and 45.

These are people at the final stage of their academic training, and who still have a lot to give to the country and to their families but because of road accidents they cease to perform their role as breadwinners, and throw the future of their young children and other dependents into uncertainty.”

The worst accidents, those which claim the most victims, are those that involve heavy goods vehicles and minibuses used as passenger transport, commonly known as chapas. The reports into the accidents indicate the main causes are excessive speed, dangerous manoeuvres, and driving under the effect of alcohol or drugs.

Also featuring on the list of causes are driver fatigue, the poor state of the vehicles, failure to observe the basic rules of driving, poorly maintained roads, poor road signposting, and dangerous crossing of roads by pedestrians.

Apart from the physical and psychological costs to the people directly involved, Nyusi said the accidents also have a negative impact on the health service. The damage done to walls, buildings, traffic lights, lampposts and the like struck by vehicles, also adds to the costs.