Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Open letter to Power Tools on the increasing Poor Road Safety Record

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The Zambia Road Safety Trust (ZRST) is the Nation’s leading road safety charity, which was founded in 2014 and has over 1,000 members and supporters. Over the years, we have supported the Government to take concrete action for safer roads, and reduce the tragedy of deaths and injuries on Zambia’s roads. Our central mission is to make Zambia’s roads safe, accessible, and enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities.

Just like any concerned citizen, we are deeply concerned about the continued unabated road accidents involving your buses. And this letter is in response to the recent accident involving one of your buses which happened this month on 2nd May 2020 in Manyinga District of North Western Province. Unfortunately, this tragic incident led to the loss of 4 lives, including one of your drivers, leaving the other 15 people with life-changing injuries. ZRST wish to offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

But this was just one of many road accidents involving your buses happening on a regular basis. We are highly disappointed by the missed opportunities to advance road safety in your company and the many lives lost or severely altered because you have failed to learn from your previous mistakes. In each of those road accidents, involving your buses, there has been strong evidence of lax road safety adherence, inaction, and failure to protect road users on many levels.

ZRST is disturbed that every time one of your buses is involved in a tragic incident, the blame is put on your drivers, while you continue operating. But you as the owner, benefiting from the business, you must, as far as possible, make sure that neither employees (drivers) nor anyone else (passengers) is put at risk by your transport activities. Why do you always blame the drivers whom you hire? They must be skilled and trained but also controlled to ensure ever higher safety, as safety remains the number one characteristic of bus and coach transport. Your drivers are required to be in peak condition, rested and fit, to ensure the passengers in their care are never let down.

You must know that bus drivers are a special group of professional motorists that differ markedly from the population of car drivers in ways that are likely to affect their crash risk. They assume the added pressure of responsibility for passengers’ lives driving large, heavy buses that are constantly pulling in and out of traffic, sometimes in most built-up areas. They do much higher annual mileage than private drivers. Things such as bus schedules are likely to exert a strong influence on their driving behaviour.

ZRST is appealing to your conscious of the negative impact you as an individual is having on people’s lives and the legacy you want to be remembered for. The profit motive of your operations is destroying not only lives but also public spirit, dignity, property, and national development efforts. The physical damage is destroying victims’ mentality and spiritual strength for both the victims and their family members who are indirect victims. Your business has left many children to become orphans due to the deaths of their parents, and this circumstance shapes their future lives. This tragic status quo needs to change.

Please do everything in your power or seek advice to avoid this to happen in the future. Accidents are preventable and avoidable.

As ZRST, we are willing to support you in avoiding this by improving the road safety of your organisation.

Please consider this letter as a piece of friendly advice.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel

DANIEL MWAMBA

Chairman

Cc Minister of Transport & Communications

Director RTSA

11 COMMENTS

  1. Mbachi Nkwazi has struggled to build his business, he’s a living testimony of hard work. However, he needs to go further and invest in the training of his drivers on defensive driving otherwise they will sink his business. The system of issuing licenses in Zambia is very corrupt, some drivers have CE class but can’t even handle a Corolla sedan. Dangote is another training ground where all taxi drivers run to. You can’t rely on our rotten RTSA

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  2. It’s the new normal. Amazing how this company is still in operation. Meanwhile PrimeTV have not killed anyone to date and yet they have been shut down. We handle everything we kid gloves or leave it to God to sort out and pray on it. The bans an fines that this company has had are not a deterrent, they are not effective. They have been given enough time to sort their house.

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  3. Is it possible that some lawyers could make a claim on behalf of the victims families? Hit them hard enough so that they are out of business. Save as a deterrent to other careless operators.

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  4. The solution doesn’t lie in shutting down Power Tools, besides the Company loses a lot of money in compensation of the casualties. Those of us who have seen Mbachi grow from 2 Nissan Civilian buses to what he’s today are pained each time misfortune hits Power Tools. We’re willing to help out and keep it going. This is what I said to Japhet when his father retired from Mazhandu.

  5. I think Power Tools must begin to diversify away from the Transport Business. This is what I would do. As the world changes people will become savvy enough to begin to boycott that which they are uncomfortable with. I know, someone will say not in my lifetime. DSTv said so before Netflix showed up.

  6. This man inherited wealth from his white step father who used to run panel beating company near KMB. What is amazing is how these two operators, Power Tools and Scorpion seem to get away with the accidents. This is not the way RTSA treated CR or Mazhandu

  7. Totally agree, defensive driving is definitely needed for all drivers of this carrier. If only some breath tests could also be conducted by RTSA along the way, probably at some random check points. Perhaps these drivers would be sober.

  8. Zalawi used to be a menace on the roads until the German owner took the initiative of re-training his drivers. What those calling for the closure of Power Tools should know is that owners of these buses don’t drive them except that they employ whoever comes with a valid PSV License and traceable references. But our system very rotten, even some Grade 12 with 6 points fail to even construct an essay when they go to UNZA. Some teachers failed to answer Grade 9 exam questions and you wonder how they passed through up to college. So in such a scenario you only survive by going an extra mile and I can give many examples of those that have tried . Chomba Kaleng Euro Africa, Mazhandu Senior, late Augustine Chilumbu “We Bus The Best”. So Mbachi can do the same

  9. Speed kills that is the only problem all long distance buses should have a speed limit i think it will help.

  10. There is no reason for a bus to travel more than 80km/h in Zambia. Traffic police are incapable of speed law enforcement (I have watched busses speed past traffic law enforcement) and governing of engines eliminates the need for speed law enforcement.

    Those busses are designed to travel at 160km/h on the Autobahn in Germany. We don’t have roads that are safe enough to travel at 160km/h, anywhere in Zambia.

    A governor or speed limiter can easily be installed in all busses. All modern vehicle manufacturer limit the speed of their vehicles.

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    Most countries limit trucks and busses to between 60-80km/h. We allow 100km/h. On our roads? ****
    It’s madness.

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