The government will soon announce new speed limits on certain roads that could cover sections by up to 110 kilometres under a new classification system approved by the East African Community (EAC) to facilitate road traffic and promote intra-regional trade.
The regional bloc has Okayed a maximum speed limit of 110km/h; up from 80kms-, Tanzania Road Safety Week Chairman Mr Henry Bantu told reporters in Dar es Salaam over the weekend.
However, as the government contemplates the new rule, the transport safety and operations expert says the new changes will push the government to increase road reserves -- a key parameter in road safety.
“The new changes means the road reserves will be increased to 25 metres from the current 20…this will give enough space for unexpected road crashes to hit pedestrians near the road,” he noted.
“It will not be possible that while Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan have approved 110km/h Tanzania maintains 80kmph. To easy trade flow the government will be forced to change the speed limits,” he detailed.
The ‘Daily News’ could not independently establish the roads that will accommodate new speed limits. However, it remained certain that all the highways connecting Dar es Salaam to upcountry regions and neighbouring countries will be affected.
Efforts to get clarification from the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the new development proved failure, but automobile industry watchdog agencies said there are more than reviewing the road reserve.
Tanzania Child Rights Forum (TCRF) Legal Officer Mr Johnis John pointed out that the laws governing the traffic sector are fragmented, which explains why multiple institutions work on a single issue. “There are at least 17 institutions involved with road safety; this limits proper monitoring of roads and the entire industry,” he observed.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) global status report on road safety, there are 1.25million road traffic deaths annually, making it number one cause of deaths for the 15-29 years old group.
Details show that motorcycles account for 23 per cent of road accidents, 22 per cent caused by pedestrians as only 4 per cent of the cases results from cyclists.
Detailing more about road crashes, Mr Bantu who is also a Member of the National Road Safety, and Vice-President of the Automobile Association of Tanzania (AAT), said road crashes were a result of road user errors (90pc), road conditions (30pc) or a vehicle defects/failure (1pc).
A Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) road safety programme coordinator, said Tanzania can achieve a sustainable development goal 3 and 11 that target to ensure health lives and make cities and human settlement inclusive only by halving the number of death and injuries.
She was of the view that as much as there are road accidents women and children become more vulnerable in the community. A 2011-2020 UN action plan for road safety shows cases of road crashes in Africa are still high at an average of 26.6 per cent, followed by America’s 15.9 per cent and Europe’s 9.3 per cent.
In a meeting with media representatives organised by the Tanzania and supported by WHO, road safety experts said the new speed can help spur economic growth and can alternatively affect the economy especially when there will be uncontrolled road carnages pushing more of government spending to medical care to victims of road accidents.
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