THE recalcitrant attitude of drivers, especially those who fall under the category of passenger service vehicles, was this past year blamed for the frightening statistics on road carnage which proved to be a heavy drain on road users’ emotions.
There has certainly been something amiss in the manner in which some drivers cut into other motorists’ lanes and do not only expose other people’s lives to great danger, but also show a reckless disregard for their own safety.
All this shabby conduct has been perpetuated under the pretext of beating deadlines, better known as ‘cashing targets’.
What is sad, however, is that many lives have continued to be lost, and families torn asunder through the death of their loved ones.
Safety standards in most instances have been allowed to go down the drain.
But while uncultured drivers bear part of the blame, authorities cannot totally be absolved of all responsibility for the growing road traffic accidents.
One could only think of some critical roads such as Lusaka-Kafue, or indeed Lusaka-Kabwe Road which could be referred to as pressure points and yet they lack some vital aids.
It is a pity that these roads have become known as death traps when they are actually essential routes leading into Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka. OPINION
There are other crucial roads that could be cited for having poor markings barely visible at night while improper lighting betrays the sight of many road users.
Some billboards are clearly mounted in the wrong places and we have also witnessed – and published pictures of – traffic lights and road signs that are obscured by overgrown tree branches and create potential danger for road users.
What is baffling to us is that the concerned authorities seem to always wait for reminders before they could take remedial measures.
These are not matters that could be heaped on drivers when lives have been lost through accidents.
It was heart-warming to listen to listen to Vice-President Guy Scott yesterday promise to revive a committee created by Government to prevent road accidents.
During the funeral service for Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Gabriel Namulambe’s daughter, Rose, and two grandchildren, the Vice-President did not hide the fact that the committee comprising the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) as well as the Zambia Police Service had long lost its shine.
We also concur with family spokesperson Leslie Mbula who challenged traffic officers, road engineers and driving schools to put in place measures to help curb the increasing road carnage.
There must be concerted efforts to activate such initiatives as the National Joint Road Traffic Enforcement Plan for 2012 that Government said would be implemented by RTSA, Zambia Police Service, Road Development Agency and the National Roads Fund Agency.
Zambia has enough trained manpower to work out ways of reducing road traffic accidents, but individual attitudes must change before the desired change is seen.
The year 2014 must be used to reignite the fight against road traffic accidents which characterised the past year.