Editor's Comment

Cameras will bring sanity on roads

Lusaka City.

THE move by the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) to place cameras on a number of roads to curb over-speeding is a step in the right direction in as far as promoting road safety is concerned.Over-speeding has been cited as one of the major causes of high road carnages in our country.
RTSA and the Zambia Police Service recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) aimed at reducing road traffic accidents through the use of cameras.
The MoA is part of the implementation of safety laws under the Road Safety Management System.
“The two institutions will deploy roadside cameras and state-of-the-art patrol vehicles to monitor and detect traffic violations as a means of changing the bad driver attitude and behaviour among motorists,” a statement jointly issued by RTSA and police reads in part.
In the pilot phase, cameras have been placed on Kafue, Great East, Airport and Mumbwa roads.
This is indeed a positive development in our road traffic management and should be embraced by all.
As rightly noted by Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja, the placement of roadside cameras comes with many benefits.
Roadside cameras automatically reduce the physical presence of traffic police officers on highways.
This means the manpower which was supposed to manage traffic on roads will be deployed to other needy areas.
This will certainly go a long way in improving resource allocation thereby promoting efficiency and effectiveness in road traffic management and operations of the police service.
The replacement of traffic police officers with cameras on highways will also help reduce corruption which is rampant in road traffic management.
It is not a secret that traffic officers have been cited to be among the most corrupt in the police service.
Needless to say, some police officers have been said to use roadblocks as “automated tailor machines (ATMs)” from which they extract funds through bribes from traffic offenders.
It is common knowledge that some police officers were taking advantage of the exorbitant charges for various traffic offences to compromise offenders who were in most cases not willing to pay the full amounts.
Now that traffic officers are being replaced with cameras, which cannot be corrupted, it means the money which would be lost to individual traffic officers will now end up in institutional coffers.
This will certainly boost government treasuries and subsequently enhance service delivery.
Unlike in cases where human beings manage speed traps, there will be no chances of offenders escaping the ‘eye’ of the camera under the new arrangement.
This is because all infringements are automatically digitally recorded, both on site and at RTSA offices.
Likewise, the iTicket system also creates a permanent notice to be utilised in the prosecution of offenders.
Whether the offender stops upon committing an offence or not, the camera would have already captured it.
This ensures that every offender is booked and made to pay for violating traffic regulations.
On the other hand, the possibility of notorious offenders escaping the scene or refusing to stop at the orders of traffic officers is a common occurrence.
With placement of roadside cameras, it is hoped that Zambian motorists will be more responsible and abide by traffic regulations.
This is the only way to maintain sanity on our roads.

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