THE government is reviewing the Highway Code to raise the minimum age requirement for public transport drivers to 35 years from the current 25 years.
The move, designed to curb accidents on the country’s roads, will also see the government tightly monitoring the operations of driving schools, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu said yesterday.
He said the review was a response to a spate of accidents, which he said were caused by human error and often involved young drivers.
“A lot of people are killed in accidents because of human error. The problem is that operators employ unqualified drivers and we wonder why they’re doing that. We would rather have public service drivers aged 35 and above. This is because most accidents involve young drivers in their 20s,” said the minister.
Close to 2,000 people die in accidents annually, with most incidents linked to human error.
Mpofu said a new national road safety policy was on the cards seeking to “consolidate and harmonise road safety practice” in Zimbabwe in line with the regional and global trends.
He complained about the behavior of kombi drivers and said his ministry would monitor driving schools and ensure their syllabus was in line with the required ideals on safe driving.
“We’re reviewing the Highway Code after more than 40 years in operation. There’re new SADC road situations that could not be envisaged and captured in the current Code. Therefore, the revised Highway Code will be inclusive of these current trends in driving standards,” said Mpofu.
Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe manager Obio Chinyere said his organisation has started working on the proposed changes.
“Yes, we are incorporating SADC signs into our Highway Code. You’ll realise that some of our drivers ply routes in the region up to DRC. As such, the aim is to harmonise all our road rules with those of our neighbours,” he said.
Professional Drivers Association leader Albert Sibanda welcomed the proposed review.
“Yes, let’s go to 35 years. That’s a necessity because we also have a problem instilling discipline on young drivers. However, that will need us to increase the retirement age for PSV drivers to 70 years instead of 50,” he said.
Sibanda called for intensive engagement of drivers towards reducing accidents on the road.