5 April 2016
THE story of a PCJ Bus that ploughed into a herd of cattle on Saturday killing 18 on the spot emphasises the need for caution on the roads.
Fortunately, there were no human casualties but this is a story that could have been even more tragic so efforts must be made to avoid similar accidents.
For starters, people must know that they are responsible for their livestockâ€™s whereabouts and are liable should their livestock stray into highways and cause accidents.
Even if their livestock die, most of the times, the fault for the accident is theirs. It is akin to letting oneâ€™s dog stray out of the yard; you are liable if that dog bites anyone.
So it is of paramount importance â€“ especially for people whose livestock stay near highways and major roads â€“ to always ensure that the animals stay off the roads.
If it is necessary for the livestock to cross highways like the case in point, then extra caution to avoid accidents must be taken.
This bus for example, reportedly hit 22 cattle when a group of herdsmen were crossing the road with 184 cattle along the Harare-Chegutu road.
That is a very large herd to cross the highway at one go.
The herd should have been split into more manageable flocks that they can control as they cross the roads.
However, in this instance, the biggest blame should fall on the bus driver.
Whilst he should be commended for his ability to keep the bust stable after ploughing through all those cattle, he should also be questioned about his failure to notice the herd in time and breaking before hitting the animals.
Like national police spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi stated, the Highway Code is clear that Zimbabwe is a cattle country hence the need to be cautious to avoid loss of lives.
One should always be on the lookout for stray animals on the highway and there are road signs that warn drivers about the possible presence of livestock on the road.
The herdsmen are also said to have been waving flags as indication that they were crossing with cattle before the driver drove through the herd.
Herdsmen did the right thing to flag warnings to drivers but the driver of the bus did not take heed.
Either he was obstructed by something and failed to take a proper lookout of what was happening on the road or he was travelling at a speed that made it impossible to control the vehicle.
Drivers are urged not to drive when too tired as sleeping behind the wheel is one of the major causes of accidents.
Other distractions like talking or texting on the phone are equally dangerous.