MASERU — About 30 people suffered minor injuries in 35 accidents that happened in and around Maseru during the National University of Lesotho’s graduation weekend, the police have said.
Superintendent William Mosili said seven people were also arrested over the weekend for traffic offences.
Mosili said most of the arrests were related to driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving.
He said most of the accidents recorded are those in which a motorist would have rammed into another car from behind.
“Thirty people suffered minor injuries in all the accidents over the weekend,” Mosili said.
He said the police had to force other motorists that had had alcohol but were not above the legal limit to park and rest until they were sober enough to continue their journeys.
“We had to stop some of the motorists to rest for a while before they could continue with their journey.”
The aim was to save lives, Mosili said.
He said the Traffic Act allows the police to stop and make a motorist to rest if he is seen to be drunk.
He said there was a dramatic drop in the number of accidents this year compared to the same period last year.
“Two people perished on our roads last year during graduation celebrations in the road accidents but this past weekend no deaths were recorded.”
Mosili said 50 accidents were reported last year.
“Last year 60 people were injured and two others died. This year there were 30 people who were injured but we recorded no deaths.”
“Last year 100 cars were involved in accidents and this year 67 cars were involved.”
The number of people arrested over the weekend has also declined.
Last year 12 people were arrested for traffic offences but this year the police nabbed only seven individuals.
Mosili said the lower number of accidents and casualties could be attributed to the police’s vigilance during the weekend as well as their co-operation with taxi operators.
“We have engaged the business community especially those who are in the transport sector to work with the police to fight crime on our roads.”
“The idea came when we realised that community policing can be effective when police have joined hands with the community to root out crime on our roads.”
Mosili said the operation will also continue throughout the Econet Telecom Lesotho Morija Arts and Cultural Festival which kicked off yesterday.
“This time we are going to be very serious and any one found dri ving under the influence of liquor will feel the wrath of the law. We are going to be serious and not play games with them. They will be locked up in cells before they are taken to courts of law.”
He said that his police juniors were apprehensive of working with taxi operators but they are now understanding and very enthusiastic to work with them.
Teboho Kahlolo said that they were working well with the traffic police and relations had improved.
“Our drivers used to pick up the passengers in the middle of the road. Those problems hampered the smooth flow of traffic as there would be congestion even in the middle of the day.
“Some of the police officers were not solving the problems but were exacerbating the problem by taking bribes from taxi drivers but now it has stopped although I am not so certain. People have their own devious means that they embark on,” Kahlolo said.
Kahlolo said that the commissioner of police is very supportive about the idea.