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Zimbabwe bus drivers' age limit proposal sparks debate

by Staff reporter
19 Jun 2024 at 02:21hrs | Views
The Zimbabwean government's proposal to raise the minimum age for bus and kombi drivers from 25 to 30 has elicited mixed reactions. This initiative aims to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities, which are often linked to reckless driving, by ensuring more mature and experienced drivers operate public service vehicles (PSVs).

Zimbabwe faces over 2,000 road traffic-related deaths annually, with negligent driving being the primary cause. Within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, the minimum age for PSV drivers is already 30 years. In Zimbabwe, bus drivers must have held a driver's license for at least five years before undergoing bus driving lessons.

Public transport groups, such as the Zimbabwe Passenger Transport Organisation (ZPTO) and the Transport Operators Association of Zimbabwe (TOAZ), support the government's proposal. ZPTO president Dr. Samson Nhanhanga emphasized the need for mature drivers to handle buses and called for more visible monitoring by the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID). TOAZ CEO Wilfred Ramwi noted their compliance with existing regulations and the need for consistent checks on their vehicles.

A former traffic police officer highlighted the need for stricter enforcement of traffic rules and regulations, better monitoring mechanisms, and addressing corruption among traffic enforcers. The officer pointed out that many accidents result from speeding, overloading, and disregarding traffic laws.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Felix Mhona indicated plans to synchronize age limits for PSV drivers and enhance road safety through measures like deploying Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs) and automated ticketing systems.

According to the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, a road accident occurs every 15 minutes, with at least 150 fatalities monthly. Recent incidents, including a fatal school bus accident and a deadly bus fire involving Anglican Church pilgrims, underscore the urgency of improving road safety.

Overall, while there is support for the age increase among transport organizations, there are calls for comprehensive measures to improve traffic law enforcement and monitoring to effectively reduce road accidents and fatalities.

Source - The Herald
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