OVER the years, officers from the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and traffic police have had to grapple with the wayward ways of the passenger transport industry which has so far proved difficult to control.
As Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge bluntly puts it, this is largely because of high levels of indiscipline among public transport service operators.
“If the driver who caused the accident followed rules, these people would not have died,” Mr Musenge said during the burial of four people who died in a road traffic accident in Masaiti District, Ndola Rural, early last week.
Mr Musenge is not the only one who has blamed indisciplined drivers for much of the accidents. Indiscipline on the road by some drivers of public service vehicles (PSVs) has been cited as the major contributor to many road traffic accidents.
They speed, even where its not necessary to do so, and bend all sorts of road traffic rules in an effort to reach their destinations. The result has been fatal, the unfortunate loss of thousands of people’s lives to road accidents resulting from careless driving.
In a move to curb the rising cases of road carnage in the country, RTSA has been looking at various measurers, including heavy fines for erring drivers and weekend jailing of those proved to be driving while drunk, as well as introducing new regulations to govern PSVs.
All these punitive measures have targeted PSV drivers some of whom, however, now say they should not always be blamed for accidents and driving vehicles that are not road worthy.
The drivers charge that very often, the owners of minibuses and (pirate) taxis which they drive push them to meet certain targets, not taking into consideration that they (drivers) are tired or the vehicles are not in the best condition.
In addition, the drivers argue that when the vehicle has a problem, the driver will alert the owner of that particular vehicle but in most cases they ignore the problem.
And the drivers have one suggestion: When a car is impounded for being un-road-worthy, for instance, owners and not the driver should be put to task.
Perhaps the emergency meeting the Zambia Association for Motorists is urging the Government to convene in an attempt to find a solution to increased road traffic accidents should look at the drivers’ request to put to task owners of motor vehicles as well. COMMENT