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Drunk drivers face long jail terms

ALVIN CHIINGA, Mazabuka
MINISTER of Transport and Communications Brian Mushimba has called on Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) to stiffen penalties meted on motorists found guilty of drunk driving.
Mr Mushimba said the current penalty of a fine totalling K2,500 is not working as a deterring factor to would-be offenders.
“The fine that is given to an offender found drink-driving is not helping in terms of deterring people from drinking and driving because it is so lenient,” he said.
Mr Mushimba was speaking in Mazabuka yesterday during inspection of the 10 Miles checkpoint.
He said the traffic offence of drink-driving should go with heavy penalties such as a minimum of six months to one year imprisonment so that other motorists can learn from such penalties.
Mr Mushimba said there is need to revoke drivers’ licences for people found wanting of drink-driving offences in addition to fines that they pay.
He said drink-driving is a serious offence under traffic laws and should attract stiffer penalties.
Mr Mushimba said it is sad that drink-driving has continued to be the cause of many deaths across the country without any stiffer laws being put across.
He urged all motorists to ensure that they do not drink and drive so that they are able to safeguard both their lives and other road users.
And RTSA chief executive officer Zindaba Soko said the agency will ensure stiffer penalties to reduce road traffic accidents caused by drunk driving.
Mr Soko said RTSA will ensure that there is zero tolerance to alcohol consumption while driving, adding that RTSA will introduce custodial sentences on drink-driving.
He said the law is not stiff enough to deter people from alcohol drinking while they are driving.
Meanwhile, Mr Mushimba took to task a tanker driver who was found with several bottles of beer in his truck.
Mr Mushimba said the driver, who was transporting petroleum products to the Southern Province, was not supposed to have beer with him while driving.
He said the named driver’s action could put other people’s lives at risk and that such drivers need to be punished.

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