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New rules for all drivers

Tinomuda Chakanyuka
Serial violators of road regulations could soon have their drivers’ licences revoked under new measures Government is considering.Speed limits on certain roads will also be raised following indications that some accidents are being caused by slow drivers.

Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe spokesperson Mr Ernest Muchena revealed last week that authorities would allocate drivers points and then deduct them on conviction of an offence. The licence will be revoked if a driver continues to lose points.

Mr Muchena said the Transport and Infrastructural Development Ministry had assembled a multi-stakeholder committee to start examine these possibilities.

“According to the Road Traffic Act (Chapter 13:11), the minister is allowed to craft a Statutory Instrument which puts into effect a penalty points system. For example, the system may start with each driver at 15 points, and when someone transgresses the law, say drinking under the influence, three points will be deducted.

“If you continue transgressing, more points will be deducted and if one gets to zero, their licence is taken away. The minister (Dr Joram Gumbo) has tasked the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe to lead the process of coming up with content outlining which offences to include in the penalties system. The system may not cover every offence. It’s an all-stakeholders committee that has been set, led by the TSCZ, to conduct consultations and come up with a proposal that will be presented to the minister and crafted into a Statutory Instrument which will effect the penalty system.”

On minimum speed limits, Mr Muchena said: “The upgraded Highway Code also has minimum speed signs. We were used to regulatory signs, but we now have prohibitive and command signs. The minimum speed sign is white with a blue background and tells the driver to travel, for example, at 50 km/h or above. If you are caught driving below 50km/h … that will be an offence.

“You will not find that sort of sign in Bulawayo urban, but maybe on the road from Bulawayo to Nkayi where there may be a continuous stretch and you are travelling at 100km/h, then you come across someone driving at 30km/h. Such scenarios may contribute to accidents.

“There are totally new signs which drivers should learn. There is a box junction which is now in Harare and will be coming to Bulawayo soon. What that means is that the driver is not allowed to enter the intersection when the exit is not clear. You can’t enter the box area if your vehicle can’t pass through.

“The upgrade Highway Code has incorporated Sadc signs, which are uniform in the region. There are new signs which are equivalent to the old ones, and the onus is now on the driver to get a copy of the upgraded Highway Code and familiarise themselves with the new signs.”

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