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Alba Iulia
Thursday, April 2, 2020

With bold leadership, Road Safety is SOLVABLE in Zambia

Headlines With bold leadership, Road Safety is SOLVABLE in Zambia

Photo from the Global Meeting of Nongovernmental Organizations Advocating for Road Safety and Road Victims convened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. From left to Right – Edward Phiri (ZRST Secretary), Daniel Mwamba (ZRST Chairman), Lotte Brondum (Executive Director), Miles Mwale and Paul Mwanza (ZRST members). Photo taken by richardahlstrom.com.
Photo from the Global Meeting of Nongovernmental Organizations Advocating for Road Safety and Road Victims convened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. From left to Right – Edward Phiri (ZRST Secretary), Daniel Mwamba (ZRST Chairman), Lotte Brondum (Executive Director), Miles Mwale and Paul Mwanza (ZRST members). Photo taken by richardahlstrom.com.

By Daniel Mwamba  Chairman Zambia Road Safety Trust

Road traffic accidents are a high, unacceptable cost to society and public health. Each year at least 1,25 million people perish and around 50 million injured on roads globally. In Zambia at least 120 souls are lost every month, and these accidents having quadrupled to almost 100 % since 2010, is one of the leading causes of deaths besides HIV/AIDS and Malaria, a lead cause of death for children below the age of 16. While we cannot measure the emotional costs of losing a loved one, the economic cost to this country is estimated at approximately 3 % of GDP– around K60 billion over the last decade – more than Zambia’s real annual budget.

The problem of road accidents maybe complicated, widespread, and urgently in need of a solution—but with bold leadership, it is ultimately SOLVABLE. Fatal and long-term injury in road accidents is a largely predictable and avoidable problem, which is amenable to rational analysis and remedy. We need to focus on achieving specific results, applying system-wide, evidence-based measures, underpinned by effective leadership. Without new and effective actions, road deaths in Zambia will rise steeply. This has been emphasized by the UN in its resolution on improving global road safety in which it proclaimed that achieving road safety results requires long-term governmental ownership, leadership and political will.

We have to recognise, that road safety is a shared responsibility at international, national, provincial, and local levels. Achieving good road safety results is a multi-disciplinary activity which takes place in a complex multi-sectoral context. Multi-sectoral activity provides the opportunity for a holistic system-wide approach that provides good and broad opportunities for ‘win-win’ integration with a range of other governmental and organisational policies for example we need to acknowledge that the business sector and employers in general share responsibility for road safety and can make an important contribution to road safety when input in line with national road safety strategy. The business sector can often contribute financial support to road safety activity. In practice, in the past five years, Puma Energy Zambia Plc has been funding road safety education – through chid road safety education for 50,000 children and radio programmes, resulting in 50 % reduction in traffic fatalities among the children between 2014 and 2018. The Puma Energy Foundation, the FIA Foundation, AMEND, Vital Strategies and FED EX have all generously contributed through the Zambia Road Safety Trust in setting up School Zones, with infrastructure to reduce speed around schools here in Zambia, achieving a 100 percent reduction child fatalities in those areas. This shows that, there is an urgent need for meaningful institutional collaboration between Government and key partners in the business sector and civil society if we have to save lives on our roads.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN General Assembly Resolution 44/25 (1989), calls governments to work to provide a safe environment for children. The Tylösand Declaration (2007), states that everyone has the right to use roads and streets without threat to life or health. All road users in Zambia have the right to safe and sustainable mobility.

We welcome bold leadership action by Hon Mutotwe L Kafwaya, MP and Minister for Transport and Communications working with the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and the Lusaka Mayor, Miles Sampa to reduce limit speeds to 30 km/h in all urban areas and schools. Zones where speeds are set at 30 km/h (or 20 mph) are proven to be effective at reducing accidents and increasing community cohesion.

Road safety is SOLVABLE.

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  1. Very shallow analysis. Reduction of speeds to 30 kph is an economic cost. At ridiculously low speeds, fuel consumption is high increasing national fuel imports, transportation time is bigger resulting in low productivity. What is required is better Road design to have walkways, flyover crosses and spiral road junctions, etc. Then you have flowing traffic and minimum bashing of people. 30 kph is a construction site speed and unheard-of in other countries

  2. Accidents are truly preventable. but in Zambia, RDA & RTSA are not addressing the real causes of accidents. RTSA is talking of reducing speed to 20 km/h & 30 km/h, like serious? when you check through your statistics, you will realize that there are actually very few people who are hit by motor vehicles here in towns. Most people who are hit are in the rural parts of Zambia & categories are: cyclist top on list, followed by drunkards. Go to ZP, they will avail you this information. Cyclists are mostly victims coz our roads have no provision for them, a situation which forces them to cycle on the main road. Drunkards are victims because of alcohol abuse which was not common as it has become. ban tujilijili (junta), you will be saving more lives

  3. on the other hand, stop addressing this problem from one angle. whenever RTSA talks of accidents, its always drivers to blame, its like other road users are perfect. Address the problem from a holistic point of view. For instance, if you talk of reducing speed to levels as low as 60 km/h, what implication will this have on a bus driver going as far as Nakonde? This will result into more stress / fatigue for the drivers. A stressed driver is twice a danger on the road than the guy who maybe driving at 120 km/h. The biggest problem leading to accidents is the state of our roads. Right now, its a nightmare to overtake on Kabwe road. Address the problem of roads, expand them, and put norman speed limits on the highway such as 120 km/h like it is in other countries. stop terrorizing innocent…

  4. one question to RDA & RTSA, now that we are being made to pay at gunpoint (Toll gates & Speed fines), why don’t we have contracts moving on sight to work on the Lusaka Ndola dual carriage way? This money is already there and is still coming daily. Its guaranteed cash for the contractor

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