BARELY 24 hours after talking about the rising scourge of road traffic accidents attributed to excessive speed, has Zambia yet again witnessed another road horror.
The fact that victims of a road traffic accident remain unknown due to the extent of fire damage to the three vehicles is saddening.
Chirundu as a border town with its hilly roads is no stranger to trucking accidents but on this particular Sunday morning the worst case scenario unfolded.
A broken down truck, another ferrying highly combustible aviation fuel and a third vehicle taught us an unwanted lesson on road safety.
The Kapiringozi Hills were in the past referred to as the Valley of the Shadow of Death and many truck carcasses littered the hilly range, however, recent roadworks expanded the narrow lanes to allow for a safer drive.
Is this a case of a blessing becoming a curse?
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and restricted cross border movements, many allowances have been made to ensure the quick flow of goods between borders and unfortunately this urge to make up for lost time may have led to the unfortunate incident.
The fireball from the accident consumed three trucks with the damage so extensive that it impossible to identify who or even how many victims there may have been.
Sadly, the identity of one truck still remains unknown.
Police spokesperson Esther Katongo confirmed the accident in a statement disclosing that the incident occurred as a speeding vehicle hit into a fuel tanker carrying Jet A1 fuel that ignited a blast that engulfed the two trucks and another one that had broken down.
Ms Katongo said that the accident happened yesterday around 06:40 hours in Kapiringozi Hills.
“Involved in the accident was unknown motor vehicle driven by unknown driver with unknown number of passengers who are suspected to have been burnt to ashes.
“Also involved was a Zimbabwean, Prince James aged 25 of Clear Choice Logistics who was driving a Volvo truck registration number ACQ 2702 which was on break down and also another Zimbabwean male identified as Donemore Magoshe of Srauss logistics driving a Faw truck registration number AEU 6414 and believed to have been carrying Jet A 1 fuel,” she said.
The two foreign truck drivers and the good they were ferrying have been identified but the other victims remain unknown.
The police spokesperson said that the accident occurred when the unknown driver, who was driving an unknown truck which has been completely burnt was descending the hill and lost control of the motor vehicle due to excessive speed and hit into a Faw Motor vehicle which was carrying suspected Jet A1 Fuel and later went and hit into a stationery Volt truck which had a break down.
All motor vehicles caught fire and were completely burnt.
She said that the number of people that have died has not yet been established as they were burnt to ashes.
It is horrific to imagine that the victims of this accident will only be known once the victims are confirmed as having failed to arrive at their destination.
Once again, we must urge all drivers to be responsible on the road.
The great advances being made in improving road infrastructure should not be seen as a passport to reckless over-speeding.
Neither do we want to continue to record fatalities from road traffic accidents on a daily basis.
Let us be road smart and drive to stay alive.