Editor's Comment

Maintain road discipline

IT IS not by accident that there is a marked reduction in the number of fatal road mishaps in Zambia.

This is a result of a focused approach to the challenge and being practical in its implementation. This must be reinforced for even better results in saving lives.
There are a number of factors that have led to the decrease in the number of road crashes.
Government has through the Road Development Agency (RDA) constructed and rehabilitated a number of roads.
The Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) has on its part been working hard to ensure that motorists adhere to road regulations.
This culminated in the introduction of Statutory Instrument (SI) 76 of 2016, banning night movements of public service vehicles (PSV).
Following a spate of fatal road accidents mainly at night, Government banned public service vehicles, passenger or goods alike, from operating between 21:00 hours and 05:00 hours effective November 27, 2016.
One year down the line, the benefits of (SI) 76 of 2016 are showing: there are now fewer fatal road accidents.
Fatal road accidents have reduced by over 20.4 percent from 1,740 last year to 1,391 between January and September this year.
RTSA director for road safety Gladwell Banda attributed the reduction to several road safety interventions being implemented by the agency.
Mr Banda said owing to the road safety interventions such as night travel ban, the agency last year managed to save 357 lives that could have been lost in road accidents.
Between January to September last year, the country recorded a total of 25,007 accidents and in the same period this year, 22,152 were recorded, representing an 11 percent reduction.
Night accidents, on the other hand, have reduced from 10,160 last year to 8,935 this year.
We commend efforts Government has made through RTSA to curtail road accidents.
However, the number of fatal road accidents is still very high and more needs to be done to save lives and property.
We call for total enforcement of SI 80 of 2016 which prescribed the number of driving hours for public service vehicles.
SI 80 was designed to address the problem of fatigue arising from the long hours by drivers of public service workers.
However, policies can only be appreciated if they are implemented.
In this case, we expect RTSA and the traffic wing of the Zambia Police Service to be strict in ensuring that drivers and owners of public service vehicles implement the directives religiously.
We also hope that RTSA will also ensure that the Global Position Systems (GPS) device currently being piloted on 30 public service vehicles, is launched soon.
The GPS is a device used to limit the speeds of public service vehicles.
Zambia should aspire for an almost accident-free status because of the negative impact of road crashes at national and household levels.
Losing a loved one through accidents is not only emotionally traumatising but also usually translates into loss of income.
This is so because some public passenger vehicles do not take out insurance which should serve as safety nets for victims of road accidents. Those that do, usually provide the barest minimal as provided by the law.
Zambia should maintain its collective push for safer roads. It can, and should, be done.

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