Zambia Alliance for Youths With Disability (ZAYWD) Secretary-General Frankson Musukwa has called on the government to come up with a law that will allow people living with hearing impairment to acquire a driver’s license.
Mr. Musukwa complained that Zambia is the only country in the region that does allow deaf people to obtain a driver’s license.
He noted that the rights of people with hearing impairment are being discriminated on the road by the Road Traffic and Safety Agency (RTSA) due to the lack of a law that permits them to be on the road.
“Our rights are being trampled on as deaf people, why should we be denied to get a driver’s license.
In other countries, deaf people are allowed to get a license.” He stated.
ZANIS reports that Mr. Musukwa wondered why people with hearing impairment should be denied the right to acquire a driver’s license, adding that no evidence has ever been provided to indicate or prove that a deaf person has been involved in a motor vehicle accident.
“RSTA has no evidence of a deaf person causing a motor vehicle accident, so why deny us licenses.” He said.
Mr. Musukwa added that the association is currently engaging the Ministry of Transport and Communications over the matter, adding that deaf people can also work as taxi drivers if issued with valid driver’s license, in order to earn an honest living.
Mr. Musukwa hoped that the government will come to their aid and resolve the matter amicably.
And when contacted, Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) Head of Public Relations Frederick Mubanga explained that the Road Traffic Act No 11 of 2002 does not allow people with hearing impairment to obtain or acquire a driver’s license.
He, however, added that the agency is in the process of amending the Act.
Mr. Mubanga revealed to ZANIS that the agency is currently consulting with stakeholders over the matter.
He disclosed that after consultations, the processed Road Traffic bill will be submitted to the Ministry of Transport and Communications in order for it to be taken to parliament.
Mr. Mubanga hinted that stakeholders have expressed mixed feelings over the matter.
He disclosed that the Road Traffic Bill will be presented to Parliament next year (2020) after consultations are concluded.