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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

What is causing road carnage in our land?

Columns What is causing road carnage in our land?

mazhandu

Of late, the nation has witnessed a wave of grisly road carnage involving mainly passenger service vehicles. This has resulted in shattering numbers of fatalities and serious injuries. If this were in civilized societies, it would have long been declared a national disaster! A few days ago, a Mazhandu Family Bus en-route to Lusaka lost control and flipped-off the road just after Kapiri Mposhi. Six 6 people died on the spot among them a young lady that had just had her bridal shower party a week earlier and was due to tie the knot in the coming days.

A couple of days later, a Wada Chovu Coach collided with a minibus in Mayumbi near the toll gate – 24 people lost their lives! The following Saturday morning, another coach coming from Kitwe had a mishap along the Ndola/Kitwe dual carriageway. Since we don’t capacity to respond to emergencies rapidly, the bus blocked one part of the road for several hours resulting in massive traffic jam. Praise God; there were no serious injuries! And before the dust could even settle down, a fourth bus rammed into a light truck somewhere in Central province; thankfully, folks emerged unscathed.

But what is the cause of all these traffic accidents?

To any ordinary person in the Townships, Satanism has a big hand in this. “This is their month of sacrifice,” they would say. Sadly, this hogwash hasn’t spared social media where you expect the majority of people to be above such petty and backward thinking! According to them, some prominent people involved in Satanism are causing all these accidents in order to collect enough blood to use in ritual purposes so that they can become stinking rich or swiftly grow their wealth.

Surely, can spilling blood make anyone rich? How come no one has ever been caught collecting this blood? Why is it that it’s only in this country where we tend to associate success or accidents with Satanism? Are we a capital of Satanism? Since some people believe these gods duel in the Middle East, I thought enough blood is already being spilled there through endless wars. Anyway, the purpose of this article isn’t to demystify the superstitions around traffic accidents as held by many people but rather ponder over the probable causes of the same.

After taking time to observe and talking to several stakeholders about the possible causes of accidents in our beloved country, I arrived at the following reasons: fatigue on the part of drivers, failure to regularly service or maintain buses by the owners and lastly, congestion on our roads.

Fatigue
Recently, I had an opportunity to have a chat with one of the long-distance bus drivers plying his trade on the Kitwe/Lusaka route. He would set-off from the mining town around 5.00 AM and arrive in the nation’s capital 6 hours later. He would then commence the long drive back home after a 2 hour hiatus. Imagine the toll this would take on someone driving on such a route back and forth every other day? They’d be totally worn-out and wasted by the end of the month! Considering the precarious state of our roads, the job of a driver can be quite taxing and stressful. If a driver is to make it to the next destination, he is expected to totally concentrate on the road. Some of the accidents occurring on our roads today are as a result of careless mistakes arising from fatigue.

Recommendations

Drivers must be encouraged to form a union that will safeguard their interests and indeed that of the traveling public. There is need to thrush-out on how many hours drivers must work per day and the days-off they must be entitled to in a month. Mandatory medical check-ups must also be a must to ensure that any person who is entrusted with the noble duty of transporting fellow human beings must be as fit as a fiddle.

Lack of maintenance

Apparently, there’s always an officer from RTSA stationed at inter-city bus terminals checking on buses leaving the station every now and then. I wonder whether these officers are doing their jobs properly or to what extent they are indeed checking the roadworthiness of buses. On my way to Lusaka the other day, I momentarily trailed a Marcopolo Bus. It exhausted excessive plumes of black smoke and continuously tilted on one side as if it would collapse anytime. There was something definitely wrong with the suspension system! The bus struggled to negotiate its way uphill as the engine spluttered and coughed, endlessly. The tires had no visible treads at all – they were a complete example of insoka! I couldn’t help but wonder how on earth such a bus was allowed to pass through any of the roadblocks littered all over our roads in the first place.

Recommendations

Other than stationing officers at intercity like roots to check on vehicles leaving the station, RTSA must come up with an ingenuous programme to prevent further occurrence of accidents in future. If anything, public service vehicles must be recalled and subjected to thorough examination, pronto! This must entail checking every vehicle system e.g. brakes, steering, suspension and lighting etc. And once a vehicle meets the litmus test, a special fitness disc must be placed on the same. From time to time, RTSA must conduct random road patrols countrywide and look out for the same. Any vehicle failing to display the same must be impounded immediately and permanently banned from our roads! Zambia Police mustn’t be involved in this exercise because there is a huge possibility that they may interpret this as an opportunity to mint gold! Most of the times, the money that traffic police collect from erring motorists doesn’t even go to state coffers but ends up in the pockets of a few corrupt individuals.

Roadblocks/Congestion

It’s almost impossible to contend with the irritating congestion on our roads. On my way from Lusaka, I was shocked to see numerous road blocks between the short stretch Kabwe and Kapiri Mposhi! The police made motorists open their trunks as they checked for road triangles and spare wheels resulting in unnecessary congestion. One would see that once motorists were cleared by the police, they resorted to driving at breakneck speed to make up for the lost time.

Recommendation

Government must come up with a coherent policy on roadblocks; these must be restricted to a few permanent checkpoints in and out of the cities. A combined team of officers from ACC, RTSA and Zambia Police must be mandated to man these check points to curb corruption. As a matter of urgency, government must consider upgrading the road from Solwezi to Livingstone into a dual carriageway. This will go a long way in decongesting our roads. Speed limiters must also be fixed on the buses to force the drivers drive at a specified speed.

By Bill M. Kapinga

[Read 155 times, 1 reads today]

45 COMMENTS

    • In this article, there is no mention regarding the shoddy construction of roads. The author simply refers to the “precarious state of our roads” and doesn’t raise it as an issue or even offer recommendations. The fact is we have poorly constructed roads. It seems we like cutting costs and don’t deal with the undulations properly. Look at that Kabwe – Kapiri stretch. It goes around in a winding manner. Also, some of these roads simply have no grip. On top of that, we don’t seem to have proper verges or curbs. In fact, some of these sides have patches of overgrown grass or ditches that can simply be disastrous.

      Let’s reduce on those unnecessary road blocks that make drivers rush to catch up with time. We are not at war.

      Let’s not just blame bus companies.

  1. One forgets to mention drunk driving, which is often a factor, and is a very prevalent tendency. One also forgets to mention that most of these public service drivers are ng’wang’wazi who graduate to the stearing wheel and sometimes for them driving is about showing off. Another factor is that when they are given fixed amounts of money expected of them to cash in daily, they are under pressure to cruise to make enough trips to cover the expected sums. This explanation here is not fully researched and misses out a lot of vital points. It does cover some good points, yes, but it lacks in comprehensive over-all perspective. This public service scenario is a direct result of short-cut solutions to things that need long term planning. Chiluba thought that openingn the doors for people to run…

  2. Chiluba thought that openingn the doors for people to run minibuses would solve the transport problem. Now we have more buses but it is impossible to schedule or to have things running on time. When transport cannot be scheduled, teachers are not guaranteed to reach school on time, nurses are not guaranteed to reach hospitals on time, and so on. In the countries we envy, they still have their versions of UBZ, easily regulated, scheduled, and drivers meeting certain standards before recruitment, including comprehensive training concerning the job itself.

  3. Railway transport is mostly safe for a growing economy. We need to refurbish our rail lines in order to have fast trains in the long run

  4. Causes:-
    1. Traffic Police Road Blocks but not Check Point Road blocks delaying traffic causing over speeding;
    2. Alcohol Consumption and high life by drivers , most of them spending nights in night clubs;
    3. RTSA Fitness Tests of using naked eyes of Testing Officers leaves much to be desired. You need computerised testing machines not human beings checking tyres, brakes, etc, for triangles, spare wheel yes they can cope;

  5. 4. Lack of Education, at least Grade certificate 12 for PSV license and Diploma for bus owners to enable owners to formulate policies and bonuses schemes to reward good driving & punish bad driving & for drivers to interpret and understand polices and bonuses for good driving;
    5. Use of cellphones whilst driving and all passengers pay a blind eye as if its not their lives at risk;
    6. Tracking devices to monitor speed by managers and owners, speed limiters are left to drivers alone;
    7. Police issuing a charge (ticket) with sufficient grace period (7 days) so that one can go and pay where he is going and keep time, not delaying the motorist on the road until he produces money on the spot;
    8. Introduction of time factor buses not those which wait for the bus to be full as the…

  6. 8. Introduction of time factor buses not those which wait for the bus to be full as the departure factor;
    9. Lack of tolerance by motorists. Your right kills, equally cleverness (jacked up) kills;
    10. Police Laxity and only active where their interest counts, the same local minibus drivers & general motorists breaking the law at will now, will graduate into long distance bus drivers with the same mentality.

    • 11. Targets for bus drivers has encouraged drug abuse for them to meet targets and make extra for themselves.

  7. 11. Targets for bus drivers has encouraged drug abuse for them to meet targets and make extra for themselves.

  8. No educatival poster or billboard on overspeeding and TV programs by RSta . Yet TV,radio,billboards r allover zambia

  9. Too much sacrifice by our Freemason known political leader, Hakaivotela Huimwiine-under5. No he is killing innocent citizens, who will vote for him?

  10. These fatalities have generally occured on the same strech of the road, Kapiri-Kabwe. And so the question should be: What is it about this road that has contributed to this needless loss of lives? For one thing, 10 km or so past Kapiri the road becomes slippery when wet. One one scene, I overheard Kapiri traffic cops whisper something like “iyi road izasiliza banthu. Such accidents are a common occurence apa pa stretch after some showers.” This was after two of my organisations’ vehicles crushed head-on and it pointed to failure to control the vehicle due to loss of traction in wet conditions. The first three cars that came upon the scene failed to control their cars in turn despite the triangles being well-placed to warn off approaching road users, but luckily they merely ended up in…

  11. Cont:- The first three cars that came upon the scene failed to control their cars in turn despite the triangles being well-placed to warn off approaching road users, but luckily they merely ended up in the near-by bushes. Don’t leave this possible cause as we agonise all the whys.

  12. Narrow Roads and Increased Vehicle volumes. as long as we blame Satan the govt will do nothing to widen the roads.

  13. 1. status of vehicles
    2. use of second hand tires
    3. stressed/impatient drivers
    4. bad/narrow/road markings
    5. corruption/no implementation of laws
    6. Satanism – believe you me April and October are sacrifice months

    • @ine wine, No. 6 is spot on! Kikikikiki! You get a plus from me.
      7. Second hand cars being dumped into Zambia(a new is a NEW car and costs less than anybody’s life).

  14. …improper training of drivers tops the list of factors…..most of our drivers especially the PSV drivers are half baked…driving is a complex art….its not matter of knowing how to start the engine, engage gears and turning the steering wheel….there is a little more than that…whether we replace all buses with brand new ones, construct Six lane motorways but as long as the drivers are ill trained it will still be a zero job….if we had to subject all our PSV drivers to say British driving tests both theory and practical, very few would pass…

  15. THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE HAS REALLY WASTED HIS TIME WRITING A LONG ESSAY ON A QUESTION FOR WHICH THE ANSWERS ARE KNOWN. THIS USELESSLY, LONG ARTICLE SHOULD WHOLE HAVE BEEN SUGGESTED ANSWER, BECAUSE EVERY ZAMBIAN KNOW THE REASON TO THESE COMMON ACCIDENTS IN ZAMBIA. EVERYONE IN ZAMBIA, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HAVE TRAVELED AT LEAST TO BOTSWANA KNOWS HOW POORLY DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED OUR ROADS ARE. OUR ROADS DON’T HAVE SHOULDER FOR ALL THE DISTANCES THEY COVER EVEN WHEN IT IS OBVIOUS FOR HIGH SHOULDERS.

  16. Munomwaha ka kweli ya Muyana ba PF konji ba ipinyakele lipinya “ze kolobile” mwa liziba! By the time HH, GBM and Canicious are done with Dorah, ona lilaho tuna lahae lani likabe li wile fa sinuko ona wa mwana mango yese buzwize ku kulumuka kwa kota hala ling’ungwa! Neba yona mitenya ba nyomwitiseleze habasa nani nako kakuli mwa tolongo yeba libile mona batayo “nyalwa” ki bo simacende babamwi mi bata sitiwe namunganga ha butuku mwa bimbwata byabona kuli ba shapuke!

  17. …from @19 HIGH SHOULDERS ARE NEEDED FOR MOST PARTS OF THE ROADS AS A MEANS OF CONTROL IMPOSED ON DRIVERS STOPPING ANYWHERE ON THE ROAD. ANY VEHICLE STOPPING ANYWHERE ON THE ROAD MUST BE IMPOUNDED AND GIVEN SPECIFIC TIME FOR THE OWNER TO PAY FOR COLLECTION AFTER WHICH THE FEE INCREASE UNTIL A SET PERIOD WHEN IT SHOULD BE TAKEN TO A CAR POUND FOR SCRAPPING (MIND YOU- NOT FOR SALE to avoid corruption). IT MUST BE A MUST THAT ALL ROADS MUST BE PROPERLY SIGNED. SOUTH AFRICA HAS THE BEST ROAD SIDE SIGNS AND ROAD PAINTING IN THE REGION.

  18. FIRSTLY, ROAD ACCIDENTS ARE HAPPENING DUE TO FAST VEHICLES AND THE ROADS ARE NOT ASEQUATE FOR THE NUMBER OF VEHICLES ON THE ROADS NOW. THE FIRST THING THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD HAVE LOOKED AT WAS TO BUILD A DUAL CARRIAGEWAY BETWEEN NDOLA UPTO LIVINGSTONE. SECONDLY ALL BUSES SHOULD BE GOVERNED TO TRAVELLING AT 100 K M P ONLY. ROAD USERS ARE FRUSTRATED BY SLOW VEHICLES AND LONG LINES HENCE RUSH TO OVERTAKE.

  19. …from @20 WHILE THERE LESS CONTROLS (eg high shouldersetc) ON ROADS, MOST OF THE ZAMBIAN ROADS ARE TOO STRAIGH AND MONOTONOUS, MAKING DRIVERS SLEEP ON THE ROAD. ROAD CONTROLS SUCH AS SHOULDERS, ROUND ABOUTS, SPAGHETTI JUNCTIONS, TRAFFIC LIGHTS, SPEED CAMERAS (CONTROLS), ETC MAKE DRIVERS AWAKE AND MAKE MONEY, TOO, JUST AS RESTRICTED PARKING IN INNER TOWNS.
    AS AT NOW IN THESE MODERN DAY WORLD THERE ARE NO RESTRICTED COMMUTER BUS STOPPING. THOSE FILTHY BUSES STOP ANYWHERE A DRIVER AND CONDUCTOR SEES A PASSENGER. THEY EVEN DO GO BACKWARDS TO PICK UP A PASSENGER.

  20. …from @22. REALLY, WHERE THERE’S LAW IN THE COUNTRY SUCH A THING CAN’T HAPPEN (where a bus stops anywhere). WHILE IT IS A BIG MAN HOUR LOSS TO THE COUNTRY AT LARGE (due to late workers) IT IS A DANGER TO TO PEDESTRIANS AS WELL AS THE DRIVING FORCE. THE COUNTRY DOES NOT NEED TO CONDUCT A NATIONAL PRAYER TO MAKE PEOPLE OBEY THE LAWS. THE STATE HAS TO MAKE PEOPLE FEAR AND OBEY THE TEETH-FULL LAWS OF THE LAND AND NOT FEAR HUMAN WHO WILL MAKE OTHERS CORRUPTLY PAY THEM.

  21. …from @23. I WONDER WHY THIS BACK AND FORTH DRIVING OF THOSE FILTHY UN FIT-FOR-COMMUTING LITTLE BUSES HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO DO THAT WHILE THERE ARE EVEN SCHOOL CHILDREN WHO ALWAYS REPORT LATE TO SCHOOL AND CAN’T COMPLAIN TO A BUS DRIVER AND CONDUCTOR AS THOSE BUS DRIVERS AND CONDUCTORS ARE SIMPLY ANIMALS IN BEHAVIOUR.
    NEXT ARE OUR VERY CORRUPT LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS- THE ENTIRE POLICE FORCE, RTSA, DRUGS ENFORCEMENT whatever,

  22. …from @24 THE GRZ MUST SEE THAT THESE AGENTS ARE AT LEAST 80% FREE FROM CORRUPTION- NOT 1% CORRUPT. THESE CORRUPT OFFICERS MUST BE SEEN TO BE DISMISSED FROM THEIR POSITIONS OF WORK. ACCORDING TO ME, THE BRITISH WAY OF TRAINING A VEHICLE DRIVER IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD AND ONE CAN SEE IT BY THE DEPTH OF ROAD TRAFFIC LAWS OBEDIENCE. THEY HAVE A VERY COMPREHENSIVE THEORY COURSE WHICH ONE READS BY THEMSELVES BUT YOU ARE TESTED AT APPOINTED CENTRES ON A COMPUTER. THE COMPUTER MARKS AND TELLS YOU THE RESULT INSTANTLY. YOU CAN PAY AGAIN TO REPEAT THE TEST. NO ONE CAN DO A PRACTICAL TEST WITHOUT HAVING PASSED A THEORY TEST.

  23. …from @25 BECAUSE THE QUALIFICATION FOR PRACTICAL TEST IS YOUR CERTIFICATE FROM THE THEORY TEST. THE THEORY TEST INSTILLS A SENSE OF DISCIPLINE WHICH YOU TRANSLATE INTO A PRACTICAL TEST.
    WHILE IN APPEARANCE LONG DISTANCE PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION HAS CHANGED PUBLIC RELATIONS AND EFFECTIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE DELIVERY HASN’T. BUSES STAFF ARE STILL THOSE WHO ARGUE WITH CUSTOMERS AND BAGGAGE HANDLE BY THIEVES WHO DO NOT WORK FOR THOSE BUS SERVICES. WHY THAT IS SO, BEGGARS BELIEF.

  24. Road signage is very poor or not there at all on most of these main roads; Let those that are making these roads check with our neighboring countries such as Botswana & South Africa and compare the standards. It is very difficult to drive on these Zambian roads, especially at night – most of them have no white/yellow lines, bridge / sharp bend , speed limit signs etc. Dual carriage way will be ideal between Lusaka – Ndola, Lusaka – Livingstone; this will help to decongest the main roads. Authorities must curb drunken driving, ensure that we have road-worth vehicle, genuine speed traps & cameras, educate the public on road safety. Save the lives of people. God bless Zambia!

  25. …from @26 IT IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE TO ORGANISE BUS SERVICES AND BUS STATION. IT IS JUST A MATTER OF PUTTING LAWS THAT BITE IN PLACE.
    COMMUTTER TRANSPORTATION IN ZAMBIA IS VERY FILTHY. JUST READ THE QUOTATION BELOW:
    “Walking Public trespasses right back onto the roads, at their own risk. Most people use minibuses, which shake, rattle and roll their way through traffic, honking and hooting horns to attract attention and swerve to pick up any person who looks like they might want a ride. The side door then slides open and U are offered a seat in a bus already crammed to the rafters. It’s an education and to be honest one of the main reasons that I decided to have a Toyota 4 x4 Hilux shipped over from the UK. To get around anywhere safely you need a decent set of wheels to help…

  26. What is causing road carnage in our land? You ask, the answer is Lungu is causing the road carnage. Drivers are driving without eating anything. There is no concentration when driving because of hunger. When you see the scene of the the accident, the road is very clear, it is due to lack of concentration as already said. period.

  27. “What is causing road carnage in our land?” Its because RTSA is sleeping period! Instead of RTSA being reactive after people have lost lives, these guys should have used technology to reduce on the road carnage in our land. Have you see what technology can do when used appropriately like in Brussels in Belgium? So instead of ba Soko just over reacting to these sad events he should be developing strategies that are in line with today’s ever changing world. The man is behaving like HH acting without first thinking.

  28. The best way the government can do, is to adjust the speed limit on these big buses the reason why I have said so is that because the way these drivers drive is not the way a normal or a human being can drive they are driving like suicide bomber Overtaking 4,5 vehicles before the cave this is how they drive so government please do something about it. Government address these owners of the buses maybe some are Satanist there money are blood money.

  29. I agree one reason could be that there are so many road blocks on Great North Road resulting in drivers trying to rush, overtake and make up for the lost time. There should be major recognized road blocks along the Great North Road. A good example is the road block just as you start driving on Great North Road (road block at either at Kabangwe, 13 Miles or just before 15 miles and another one at Chisamba) it is just ridiculous.

  30. The reason for all these road mishaps is simple. Zambian drivers are the most dangerous probably in Africa if not the world. The last time I visited Zambia and drove along Cairo road, there are pedestrian crossings on that road. Each time I stopped to give way to pedestrians to pass, was insulted almost by every driver for doing the right thing. Some called me names like chi driver chakumuzi po box chinyunyu chabwela lelo mulusaka. for sure I was the only driver obeying traffic rules. This is just part of the problem among many. I don’t believe its the government causing these accidents, much is to do with incompetent drivers who know nothing about road safety. Many can’t interpret the meaning of road signs. You can’t expect the head of state to be supervising drivers like some are…

  31. RTSA, the GOVE and the insurance companies that do not have correct people to investigate accidents that are investigated by corrupt Traffic police and RTSA. RTSA are as corrupt as corruption itself, I wouldn’t touch them with a pair of snake tongs.
    Driving schools and driving tests are a joke.

  32. Computerized and tough theory tests and practical tests to be introduced when getting these licenses. Driving shud not just mean moving a vehicle from one point to another but interpreting and following road signs and rules. If u don’t accidents will continue.

  33. Computerized and tough theory tests and practical tests to be introduced when getting these licenses. Driving shud not just mean moving a vehicle from one point to another but interpreting and following road signs and rules. But as long as RTSA continues to give licenses by corruption, accidents will continue.

  34. Zambia needs a routing policy to regulate public transport, if anything RTSA is to blame,for failing to implement what all our neighbours have done.
    In this time and era how does RTSA issue road licence authorising buses to operate through out Zambia, this is the cause of all these problems. At least the rule of supply and demand should apply,now then you will see how simple public transport will be. Ba Soko.some research was done it’s just gathering dust in your office. Your staff were even sent to Botswana and just find out why RTSA was formed.

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