By Tendai Mugabe
Government will cancel route permits for transport operators whose drivers are routinely caught flouting road traffic laws and has deployed police and Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) officers to ensure compliance, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza has said.
Minister Matiza said police would be out in full force to rid the roads of defective vehicles and warned against drunk driving and overloading of buses, all of them major causes of traffic accidents on the nation’s highways.
“I would like to appeal to operators of public service vehicles as well as private motorists not to use defective and unroadworthy vehicles,” said Minister Matiza.
“In this respect, I want to advise would-be offenders that the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Vehicle Inspection Department will be on the lookout for defective vehicles throughout the holiday period,” he said.
“I thus urge you to provide a safe and timeous service which should see everybody being transported to their destination safely. An operator who has been issued with an operator’s licence and route authorities has obligations to comply with the law,” said the Minister.
“He/she is obliged to provide services authorised in terms of the route authority and to keep to stipulated timetables. Overloading of buses will not be tolerated, either.”
The minister said transport operators should not overwork their drivers, which leads to
“Operators are also urged to desist from the habit of over-working their drivers resulting in failure to adhere to their time tables. On their part, drivers should stick to the regulated speed limits, as speeding has been found to be one of the major causes of fatal accidents,” he said.
“Driving under the influence of alcohol is a punishable offence and is totally condemned. My Ministry will not hesitate to cancel route authorities for those operators whose drivers are constantly caught on the wrong side of the traffic laws and disregard for the sanctity of human life.”
Minister Matiza said proper red reflective triangles should always be used in case of a breakdown to increase visibility. He said those who failed to adhere to this requirement would be dealt with in terms of the Road Traffic Act and Road Motor Transportation Act.
He urged people to plan their trips early to avoid night driving.
Minister Matiza said motorists also needed to be courteous to other road users. To avoid incidents of road rage, he said, motorists should always communicate their intentions to other road users in advance.
The country has experienced several fatal traffic accidents involving public transport in the past few months.
Most of the accidents have been attributed to human error and mechanical faults, notably the Rusape bus disaster where 46 people were killed when Bolt Cutter and Smart Express buses side-swapped at the 166-kilometre peg on Harare-Mutare highway early last month.
Witnesses said the accident occurred after the speeding Harare-bound Smart bus tried to overtake two haulage trucks at a curve.
In August 13 people died on the spot while 23 others were injured when a Chawasarira bus collided head-on with a commuter omnibus near the 152km peg after the Kadoma tollgate along the Harare-Bulawayo highway.
The accident occurred near Muzvezve River Bridge, about 10km outside Kadoma City at around 9am when the kombi, which was coming from Empress Mine, encroached into the lane of the oncoming bus.
In the latest accident last week, 17 people died when two commuter omnibuses collided head near Juru Growth Point along the Harare-Nyamapanda highway.
Source : The Herald