Road traffic accidents claim over 1.3 million lives every year and remain a key socio-economic challenge.

At 20.1 per 100 000, Botswana’s fatality rate is higher than the global average of 17.4%.

While road accidents often occur along the A1 and A3, it is the first time that 16 people died at once in a single road accident on the A3 along the Mafungo and Hubona road. The accident happened this past Thursday.

The collision involved two passenger kombis and a Dyna mini-truck. Fourteen (14) people were certified dead on the scene while two succumbed to injuries and died at Nyanggbwe Hospital in Francistown on Friday. Another 14 passengers have been admitted to the hospital where they are recuperating.

Tatitown Police Assistant Superintendent Modise Kgatlhang on Friday confirmed to the media that the accident occurred shortly after 7 pm on Thursday evening.

He said that the pile-up left some corpses scattered on the ground while the vehicles were burnt.

Traffic officers who arrived on the scene after receiving a report of the accident, suspect that the mini truck, which was headed in the direction of Francistown, strayed to the other lane and collided head-on with an oncoming kombi. The other kombi that was behind failed to stop on time and rammed into the kombi in front resulting in the pile-up, he said. The police boss also confirmed the deaths.

"About 14 people died on the scene and the other two at the hospital. The drivers of both kombis died at the scene while the driver of the truck is still fighting for his life in hospital.

“The others are still recuperating. Investigations are ongoing and we are looking for the families of the deceased", he said on Friday.

Earlier this year, Botswana Police raised concern over the increasing number of road accidents. While mistakes happen and accidents do occur, Botswana Police have raised concern over reckless driving such as speeding, impatience on the road, and alcohol abuse, which contribute to the high rate of road accidents that imperil innocent lives.

Broadhurst Police superintendent Obusitsewe Lokae indicated that some road accidents could be avoided if road users exercised patience behind the wheel, and respected traffic signs and regulations.

“Behaviours that drivers continue to display predispose them to road accidents and casualty rates. Drivers should learn to exercise patience on the roads, and also avoid drunken driving."

While population density, a high number of grey imports, and poor roads contribute to the high rate of road accidents in Botswana, reckless behaviour, over-speeding, night-time travel and inability to respect road signs have been attributed to the increased number of road crashes.