Fri, 09 Feb 2018 08:24:19 +0000
FAR too many lives are lost in road carnages. Some of these road traffic accidents could have been avoided if measures to ferret out illegal drivers as well as defective vehicles were religiously implemented.
However, it is a well-known fact that even defective vehicles do pass the fitness tests, for the right price.
Hopefully this will no longer be the case. In fact we are sure that it will no longer be business as usual on the road as finally, the country is moving into the 21st century in as far as improving traffic in the country is concerned.
While other countries have long achieved better ways of handling traffic, the travelling public in Zambia is still subjected to archaic methods of inspections.
It is important that roads are truly safe whether one is travelling at night or day. Furthermore, it is important that only road worthy vehicles are allowed on road.
The launch of the $500 million road safety management system under a public private partnership (ppp) has come at the time when the nation is grappling with how to resolve issues of road carnage.
Government, in partnership with Intelligent Mobility System (IMS) is revolutionalising the handling of the traffic system in the country.
And the best part is that government does not have to spend a ngwee on this.
The role of government is to provide the necessary legal framework allowing IMS to invest over $500 million in installations across the country to monitor traffic.
Motorists used to breaking traffic rules with impunity will not have it easy. The many cameras that will dot the country’s highways and freeways will ensure that overzealous motorists are tamed or brought to book for breaking the law.
The Road Safety Management System is completely self-sustainable and will not require funding from the government.
The project does not involve any disposal of state assets and will be implemented on a “Build Operate and Transfer” basis.
At the end of the concession term of 17 years, all the assets under the project will be under the state.
It is also gratifying that more than 4,000 jobs would created through this project.
We will basically be moving under surveillance night and day because the project would encompass CCTV cameras, vehicle inspection centres, border tolling facilities, high speed weigh-in-motion equipment to reduce overloading and road safety enforcement equipment.
As already alluded to once the upgrades are fully implemented, there would be no traffic police officers to check motorists bypassing robots and no unnecessary road blocks as the new technology would be able to handle such functions.
This also automatically means that the nagging problem of corruption which has been giving traffic police a bad name will be a thing of the past.
It is a fact that the old system where traffic police officers mounted a road block or hid at selected traffic lights or spots to pounce on erring motorists was a recipe for unwarranted graft.
Motorists would instead have to contend with technology in the form of CCTV cameras which will systematically replace the physical presence of the police.
Also included in the system and which is undoubtedly crucial to road users is assistance in road break-downs, response to and securing of accident scenes, among others.
Road assistance in break-downs is a vital service which has been conspicuously missing on Zambian roads as the case is in other countries.
A motorist who experiences a breakdown, especially at night is solely at the mercy of other passing motorists or good Samaritans for help, that is if they stop at all.
But with this assistance, things will be different as any motorist who experiences a break down will be able to call for help at any time of the day.
Of course we are mindful of the fact that generally people are averse to change but we believe beyond doubt that this system has more advantages in as far as traffic management is concerned.
We therefore appeal to motorists to change their mindset and embrace it knowing very well that it is for their own safety.