Gaining eligibility to drive on Zambian roads

UNLICENSED driving in Zambia is a common practice especially amongst young and elderly people, a situation that has compromised the road safety profile of our country.

It has resulted in so many road traffic crashes that could have been prevented if the drivers had acquired the necessary driving skills and knowledge.
Statistics collected by the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) reveal that 19.59 percent of cases of traffic offences heard in the fast-track court in Lusaka involve unlicensed drivers. Additionally, 19.03 percent of those convicted for various traffic offences are unlicensed drivers.
It is an undisputed fact that unlicensed drivers are among the major culprits for road traffic crashes in Zambia. The reasons behind this often range from the need to gain experience before going for formal training and testing to sheer ignorance on how to acquire a driver’s license. In addition to this, there is a misconception that acquiring a driver’s license is taxing, which inconveniences one’s busy schedule and hence many try to avoid the process through unscrupulous methods.
Compromising the process of acquiring a driver’s license is one of the many causes of road traffic accidents in the country because one would have failed to go through the required procedure of obtaining a driver’s license. Following the correct procedure could help save someone’s life.
Before one starts driving lessons, it is a legal requirement to obtain a provisional driver’s license from RTSA. This legally permits one to begin to drive as a learner whilst being accompanied by an experienced driver or instructor. Without a provisional driver’s license, it is illegal, as a learner, to drive any vehicle even if you are accompanied by a registered instructor.
In this article, I am making particular reference to motor vehicle driver’s licensing. An aspiring driver wishing to acquire a driver’s license must first be enrolled at a licensed driving school (approved by RTSA). One must show proof of enrolment and must have done a minimum of seven days theory driving lessons. The following documents must be availed to RTSA:
It is a requirement by law that anyone who drives a motor vehicle must be a holder of a valid driving licence which should have the appropriate class of motor vehicle one is authorised to drive. The age requirement for one to obtain a motor vehicle licence in Zambia is 18 years and over. Members of the public are advised that the only institution mandated by law to issue driving licences in Zambia, is RTSA.
The following are the requirements and fees for obtaining a driving licence in Zambia.
Every person who wishes to learn how to drive must obtain a provisional driving licence. In order to obtain a provisional driving licence, the applicant must undergo a theory test at no fee. The applicant is expected to furnish RTSA with a medical report from a recognised medical institution and an identification document, which could either a National Registration Card or passport. If successful in the theory test, a candidate will obtain a provisional driving licence at a fee of K105.00
A person who has been issued with a provisional driving licence must whilst driving a motor vehicle, be always under the supervision of a person who possesses a valid driving licence. Further, the motor vehicle being driven by a learner driver must have “L” plates on display.
RTSA conducts driving tests at a fee of K78.00. The tests are done by our motor vehicle examiners who are in a position to determine whether or not a learner driver qualifies to obtain a driving licence.
Once a learner driver has passed a driving test, he/she is issued with a drivers licence card instantly upon payment fee of K130.00. The printing of drivers’ licence cards is decentralised and under the new system, the cards could obtained on a print on demand basis at any RTSA station.
A Zambian ordinary driving licence has a validity period of 5 years after which it must be renewed at a fee of K279.00.
Keep reading and make a date with us next Thursday.

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