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Monday, 21 July 2014

13 ideas to improve road safety

Earlier this year we asked for ideas on reducing road traffic accidents on our very active Facebook page. Its taken a while to sort through the many detailed comments. Here are the best 13 ideas you came up with.  The ideas are over and above basic existing initiatives being undertaken by GRZ such as building more roads, more dual carriageways, increased road maintenance and mode switch. And of course all the ideas would require a proper cost benefit analysis before taking them forward.

1# - Introduce restrictions on where drivers can drive depending on existing experience e.g. those with less than one year driving experience could be banned from driving on intercity roads.

2# - Improve quality of training for driving instructors and close those schools that are not keeping up to standards. Many of them do not even know the Highway Code.

3# - Make public safety and driving education part of the education curriculum. For example, children in primary school should learn basic road safety.

4# - Ban importation of vehicles that are more than seven years old except in rare circumstances. Alternatively a significant higher vehicle tax should be levied on older vehicles relative to new cars to encourage people to switch to newer cars.

5# - Increase vehicle testing across board.

6# - Banning the importation and sell of used tyres into the country.

7# - All buses must be fitted with a device that restricts the speed to 80kph.

8# - Stronger regulation of public advertisements (billboards) so that private sector interests are not above the general public’s right to safety on the roads. The majority of adverts in large cities (e.g. Lusaka) presents a real danger because they are put way to low which does not allow drivers to check traffic on the opposite lanes when crossing.

9# - More targeted road and pedestrian improvements to minimise accidents. This includes building more road areas where slow vehicles can go to the side and smaller vehicles pass to facility flow the traffic; appropriate road signs, with new hazards quickly be identified and warning signs put in place; and, more provision of footpaths and bicycle lanes in critical areas.

10# - New powers should be given to traffic officers to immediately suspend drivers up to six months rather than only give fines, coupled with stiffer punishment for those who drive dangerously larger vehicles (e.g. minibuses)

11# - Stronger focus on tackling drink driving through heavy use of RTSA inspections beyond the current focus on city based inspections. There is need for more intercity patrols. And road blocks should follow identified hazards where road improvements cannot immediately be made

12# - Tackle corruption of the police, traffic officers and training centres through more encouragement of whistleblowers and randomised targeted monitoring. This is especially needed for corruption related to issuance of drivers’ licences.

13# - Improve statistical collection. We have no detailed statistics on road accidents e.g. type of cars are mostly involved, cause of accident, age groups, what areas are policed.

Chola Mukanga 
Economist | Consultant | Researcher 
Copyright © Zambian Economist 2014

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