Zambia has recorded a total number of 27,206 road crashes this year, resulting in 1,496 fatalities and 4,447 serious injuries, authorities have said.
Transport and Logistics Minister, Frank Tayali, stated that it was unfortunate that pedestrians and cyclists were the most vulnerable road users accounting for about 50 percent of fatalities in the country.
Officiating at the launch of the road safety week and Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) 2022-2026 strategic plan, Tayali noted the need to urgently change the scenario.
He said it was unacceptable to note the crashes trajectory had continued to take an upward trend with more lives being lost on the roads.
“Road traffic crashes cause economic loss to individuals, their families and the nation as a whole,” Tayali stated.
He highlighted that road traffic crashes cost most countries, Zambia inclusive, about three percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Tayali stated that this was depleting resources that could have been channeled to needy areas like education, health care and social protection programmes.
“Through interventions such as the introduction of the Global Positioning System (GPS) on intercity buses, RTSA has managed to record a drastic reduction in road traffic crashes involving intercity Public Service Vehicles (PSVs),” he said.
The Minister advised RTSA to also come up with strategies that would address the behaviour of PSV drivers on local routes, especially in Lusaka and the Copperbelt.
“I am aware that RTSA and the Zambia Police Traffic Section had earlier this year embarked on an operation to bring sanity to the Lusaka Central Business District (CBD),” he noted.
Tayali emphasized that he wanted to see consistency in such operations that aimed to enhance not only traffic management.
He also implored the Agency to tackle the ever-increasing menace of unregistered motorbikes which not only deprive government of revenue, but added to road safety hazard.
“In most cases these are overloaded and the riders fail to observe road safety measures such as the use of protective helmets,” Tayali said.
He stated that while it was noted that over 87 percent of road traffic crashes in Zambia were attributed to human error, this was an indicator that apart from law enforcement strategies, the agency needed to enhance its road safety education programmes in order to change the mindset of all road users.
“Stiff penalties will also help us deter would-be offenders. Convictions for serious offences must be aimed at deterring future potential offenders,” Tayali stated.
WARNING! All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express permission from ZAMBIA MONITOR.