Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
POLICE have warned that extended headlights mounted on vehicles that have been blamed for causing fatal accidents are illegal.
Through Statutory Instrument 129 of 2015, Government banned the mounting of additional headlights by motorists.
The law states that those who want to make any modifications on their cars should first apply from authorities.
Additional headlights which some motorists have fitted on their cars cannot be dipped, compromising the vision for other drivers.
This is said to contribute to unnecessary collisions, some of them fatal, at a time when human error contributes most of the country’s road accidents.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the modified additional lights are contributing to avoidable accidents.
“Those lights are illegal in terms of the law. Remember we have Statutory Instrument 129 of 2015 which was promulgated by Government.
It makes it clear on the type of headlight that can be fitted on a vehicle which are either two or four and have dimensions required and the number of the required watts,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“So, all the motorists who include haulage trucks, kombis, buses and other private vehicles who are using these lights are committing criminal offences. And the message should be loud and clear that they risk being arrested. They cause accidents, they disturb the vision of other motorists and definitely the police will take action.”
The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) acting director operations, research and marketing Mr Earnest Muchena said the additional headlights violate traffic laws.
“The TSCZ is deeply concerned by additional headlights that are being fitted on vehicles by certain individuals and organisations. These are not even spotlights or fog-lights, they are additional headlights that are being used to violate the laws in Zimbabwe. Our major concern emanates from the fact some of these lights have contributed to quite a number of collisions which are induced by the intensity of the lights and they also responsible for blinding headlight glare which is so intense that some drivers end up being involved in accidents long after the culprit using those lights would have gone,” said Muchena.
“Our concern is that people are acquiring household lamps which have high intensity that also do not have a dipping mechanism and are just controlled by an on and off switch and are contributing to accidents on our roads.”
He said TSCZ is in the process of engaging the Vehicle Inspection Department and Zimbabwe Republic Police to act against motorists with such lights.
Motorists in Bulawayo have said there is an urgent need for police to remove the vehicles with additional lights from the road.
Ms Kwanele Dube said police must bring the problem to an end to avoid accidents.
She said at some point she almost had a car crash due to drivers driving vehicles with headlight extensions which are not even dimmed.
“I am glad if you are saying that the police are saying that they will act on the issue. But we have so many roadblocks, why can’t police arrest those drivers who put extended headlights? It doesn’t need to be at night for them to see those lights? These cars are moving on the roads and they see them every day. It is like police watching a murder suspect every day without arresting the culprit,” she said.
Ms Dube said the problem is common among male drivers.
Another driver, Mr Bright Mangena said extended lights are a serious distraction.
He said he always comes across some motorists with extended lights especially when driving on the highway.
“These people are selfish. Why do they put extended lights? Every time I am traveling on the highway, I come across such cars and you are forced to completely stop because their light would be too bright affecting your vision. Sometimes, I’m forced to totally stop the car just to make sure that they have gone past me,” he said.
Mr Mangena said while the issue of modified headlights is a problem, the situation is worsened by the fact that there are a lot of cattle straying onto the country’s highways which also contributes to accidents.
Another motorist Mr Alexander Moyo who has mounted the headlights extension said while he knew that what he was doing was illegal, the proliferation of these lights has forced him to also mount them.
“When you travel at night especially along the highways where there are haulage trucks it’s a big problem because they don’t dim their lights. So, I had to buy them in South Africa and if someone does not dip their lights for me, I put them on to fix them. I only use them when someone does not dip their lights for me,” said Moyo.
He said his friends have also mounted them to counter motorists who do not want to dip lights at night. — @nqotshili