By SANDRA MACHIMA
THE Bus and Taxi Owners Association (BTOAZ) has welcomed the road safety interventions outlined in the Fleet Safety Management Policy for public service vehicles being rolled out by Government through the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA).
The Association national spokesperson Amis Daudi said the association was concerned with the recent spate of fatal road traffic accidents involving passenger road service vehicles in which more than 30 lives had been lost in one week. He said the intervention had aspects of driver competence management, journey and driver fatigue management as well as fleet maintenance management.
This, he said, was in addition to the installation of GPS vehicle monitoring system.
Mr Daudi said the association remained committed to the promotion and delivery of a safer, convenient and efficient public passenger transport service.
The Association urged all its members and the road users to take time and review and update all road safety interventions, including driver sensitizations and refresher training to increase all aspects of defensive driving and safer on-road practices.
“All road users and drivers need to keep abreast with and be able to handle the challenges posed by the current road environment, which include; increased vehicles traffic on the roads, narrowing roads with poor and unforgiving shoulders, hostile weather conditions among other challenges,” he said.
Meanwhile Zambia Road Safety Trust (ZRST) chairman Daniel Mwamba said the high frequency of road deaths and injuries were because ‘traffic offences’ were seen as less serious than other crimes, even when they have resulted in death or serious injury.
He pleaded with the government for a prompt “manslaughter charge” for the drivers who unintentionally cause road crashes that resulted in the deaths of innocent passengers, occupants of other cars, or pedestrians. The charge, he said, should be brought when a driver caused death because driving ‘fell below the standard expected of a careful and competent driver’.
Mr Mwamba said the high road toll within such a short period of time was wholly unacceptable and a turning point for firm action against killer drivers.
“We are deeply concerned that current sentencing for driving offences is unduly lenient and there is an urgent need for a fairer justice system that helps victims of crashes recover, emotionally, financially and physically.
By SANDRA MACHIMA