EDITORIAL: Yes, heavy penalties can help to curb road carnage EDITOR THIS DAY DAR ES SALAAM THE Dar es Salaam- Arusha highway has continued to be a killing field, after 11 people were killed and 14 others were seriously injured in yet another road accident that occurred on Sunday night in Kilimanjaro Region. According to eyewitnesses, the accident involved a speeding small passenger bus that rammed into a stationary lorry, which was wrongly parked alongside the road. The ghastly accident occurred only a day after the police force proposed severe penalty for reckless drivers from the current fine of 20,000/- to five years imprisonment. Whereas most such accidents have been blamed on reckless driving and speeding, it is discomforting that the existing laws can hardly punish or deter the culprits. As we mourn the deaths of these innocent civilians who were reportedly returning from a religious ceremony, we would like to support the proposal by the police force because we believe the 20,000/- fine is irrelevant and too little an amount for those who violate traffic regulations. There are many causes of accidents, including narrow roads, careless driving and over speeding. Some drivers just wont follow the rules. They will overtake other vehicles in narrow and sharp corners, drive while intoxicated, exceed the speed limit and literally drive themselves and other innocent road-users into the grave. As rightly pointed out by the National Police Traffic Commander SACP James Kombe, the traffic law of 1973 which is still operational is a ridiculous piece of law to say the least. Today drivers can violate traffic rules deliberately because they can easily pay the fine. Its also true that some drivers have become arrogant, carrying more passengers and overload their vehicles because they know that even if they are arrested for the offences they can afford to pay the little fine. If we want to curb road carnage the police force must seriously enforce basic traffic regulations. Efforts must be made to pass a new traffic law that should help to curb road carnage. At the same time, most of our highways are too narrow. Our planners should take note that a big percentage of fatal road accidents in the country have been head-on collisions. We need wider roads and where possible dual-carriage highways. It is also strange that whenever new roads are constructed, cyclists and pedestrians are not taken into account. Surely, we can do something to stop road carnage.