EDITORIAL: Road crashes: An unfolding national crisis EDITORIAL THIS DAY DAR ES SALAAM THE toll of death and injury from road crashes in Tanzania is developing into a national public health and safety crisis. On current trend, the continuing spiral of road traffic crashes will soon be a leading cause of death and disability, in addition to the damage of infrastructure and its concomitant dent on the Gross National Product (GNP). What is more agonizing, however, is the callousness of motorists who are fuelling this crisis. A lot of public opinions have been voiced and concerns have been expressed about reckless driving on Tanzanias roads, but all seem to fall on deaf ears of drivers. Are motorists going crazy? If they are getting the wrong end of the stick, it is time the government applied an iron rod to rule their heads. It is really weird to let driving freaks go on tossing up peoples lives like tomatoes, bashing vehicles like wicker baskets and keeping everybodys heart in his or her mouth once they hit the road. Besides the government efforts to improve the standard of roads and increase traffic police for public safety, greater emphasis should be put on public education about traffic safety, otherwise the growing car-culture will lead many prematurely to the grave. What pride is there for an underdeveloped nation such as ours that moves on imported vehicles and bicycles to enter world records on road traffic mortality? Do young drivers who feel great behind the wheel understand that accidents are undermining the strides this nation has made in development? Road crash statistics in newspapers could mean almost nothing to them, but dont the scenes of wailers and mourners after road crashes remind them anything about high speed and roll-overs? Hospital beds across the country are occupied by victims of road accidents. Health budgets are annually increased to save lives of these victims, many of them having sustained devastating head and spinal injuries which can lead to permanently blighted lives. Road crashes make no choice of victim. In many instances accidents take away breadwinners in their productive years and leave behind a trail of far-reaching implications for families and orphans. These tragedies are avoidable because they are a result of predictable and preventable negligent driving. No life should be lost as a price of improved roads and increased vehicles. Reducing road crash deaths and injuries is by far more cost-effective than paying for rehabilitation of victims. We could drive home the message of better road safety in Tanzania by having a yearly commemoration day for those who have perished in road accidents.