Beware of defective motor vehicles

RESEARCH shows that road traffic accidents are not only caused by human error but also mechanical failure of motor vehicles and the state of the roads. Some of the human error causes of accidents in Zambia are over speeding, lack of good judgement, excitement by road users, lack of good sight, drink-driving, inexperienced drivers, dangerous driving and lack of concentration when driving, among other things.
Mechanical failure due to poor roadworthiness of a motor vehicle can also cause road accidents due to failure of breaks, locked steering wheel, tyre burst and any other failure that could be questioned as having caused the car not to perform as normally.
The state of the vehicle is the other cause of road accidents. Therefore, the need for safer vehicles on the Zambian roads is paramount in reducing the number of road traffic crashes.
The Road Transport and Safety Agency as a lead institution in road safety management in Zambia should ensure that there is no un-roadworthy vehicles on the Zambian roads through a well-structured screening method. There are vehicles that are very old and un-maintained on the roads. Some vehicles have defects that could cause accidents. There should be no compromise when it comes to un-roadworthy vehicles being on the road.
Accidents can be caused by mechanical failure of the vehicle. Therefore, the RTSA wants to ensure that only roadworthy vehicles are on public roads vehicles.
It is an offence under the Road Traffic Act No.11 of 2002 for anyone to drive a motor vehicle on a public road without a valid certificate of fitness.
Therefore, vehicle roadworthiness tests are compulsory in Zambia and establish technical suitability of the vehicles to be driven on public roads. The roadworthiness test of motor vehicles and trailers, with the exception of motor cultivators, labour machinery and public service vehicles for passengers and goods, must be performed at least once a year. Public service vehicles for passengers and for goods are tested every quarter.
A roadworthy test must be carried out every year on vehicles over five years old. Vehicle roadworthiness tests can only be carried out by RTSA.
Failure to comply, or losing proof that the examinations have been carried out, may result in a fine of K300.00 .It is the car owner’s responsibility to make sure that the vehicle is tested when it is due.
For motor vehicles or trailers that the roadworthiness test established as qualifying for road transport, stickers are issued indicating the validity of the vehicle roadworthiness test.
How much does a roadworthiness test cost?
A Motor Vehicle registration certificate is required for one to purchase the form. All roadworthy tests cost K48.80 regardless of size or make of the vehicle. To find the nearest RTSA test centre, call 983 on any network.
What does RTSA check for?
A vehicle undergoes comprehensive testing to ensure that it is mechanically safe to be driven and that the following are in proper working order:
Braking system
Chassis and structure
Fire safety
Exhaust system
Carbon emissions test
The following should also be in a motor vehicle and may be checked.
Two warning triangles
First aid kit
Protective gloves
Failing the test
If a vehicle fails a test, it is vital that the repairs listed on the test paper are carried out as soon as possible. If the vehicle is submitted for re-testing within one month, then a reduced fee is payable for the second inspection. Failure to comply with this deadline means the vehicle will undergo another test at full cost.
Proof of testing
When the vehicle has passed the test, a circular sticker is issued which is valid for a year and must be displayed on the front window screen of the vehicle. It shows the month and year when next the test is due.
The author is head – public relations Road Transport and Safety Agency

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