Government to use technology to prevent road traffic accidents
Available data suggests that on a daily basis, six lives are lost on Zambian roads, 20 people are seriously injured and 90 crashes are reported.
Zambian Authorities have acknowledged that underreporting of road crashes is still rampant leading to many victims going without assistance.
According to The Zambian government most road traffic accidents are avoidable.
“Statistics show that 85% of road crashes are caused by human error-related factors such as drunk driving, speeding and using a cell phone while driving,” said Minister in Charge of Transport Engineer Brian Mushimba.
Another major cause of accidents is the lack of provision for pedestrians and the complete lack of knowledge of road safety on the part of the average pedestrian.
Some victims are pedestrians and cyclists. No footpaths, no safe crossings, and children with nowhere to play but the road. New Roads being constructed are taking that into account though in Some compounds, some roads lack such features.
To respond to calls to reduce road traffic accidents in Zambia, the Road Safety Management system was recently launched by Engineer. Mushimba.
The RSMS aims to broaden Road Transport and Safety Agency presence with the establishment of over 30 additional RTSA outlets which will be fitted with mechanised motor vehicle inspection equipment.
Road traffic enforcement is expected to be enhanced, which is critical in promoting road safety and changing unsafe behaviours on our roads.
RSMS is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) structure established between the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and Intelligent Mobility Solutions (IMS) as private sector partner.
The Kapsch Group established IMS as a Zambian-based company to provide investment and international experience in transport technologies, the project will run for the next 17 years before being handled over to government.
The Road Safety Management System follows an integrated road safety strategy, which has six main thrusts which is to deal with.
Vehicle registration and secure number plates as the foundation to best manage our nation’s road safety programme;
Vehicle testing to ensure that all vehicles comply with safety requirements;
Overload control and weigh-in-motion to prevent damage to our roads and thus help to make our roads safer;
Cross-border traffic management to manage in particular all the freight vehicles that transit through Zambia from their origin to destinations elsewhere;
Law enforcement to ensure that all the rules of the road are abided by as a critical element to help reduce crashes and save lives; and
A Traffic Management Centre to manage the overall process and to facilitate post-crash response where crashes do occur.”
Zambia is a signatory to the UN Declaration and has committed to improving road safety. The Global programme is built on five pillars of road safety management, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer road users and post-crash care.
The Zambian Government must actualize plans to establish a road accident fund to help address the challenges road traffic victims face e.g. disability and loss of employment. According to the Ministry of Transport the current third party motor vehicle insurance scheme does not effectively address the post-crash needs.
Many motorists see it as "a form of tax that they would avoid rather than a protection for their lives". Government is keen on having a scheme that would facilitate compensation to victims and meet their financial and medical requirements.