Bar unqualified drivers — passenger body

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The Zimbabwe Passenger Association (ZPA) has challenged public transport operators from employing drivers who they know are not qualified to drive public transport, saying that was the reason why accidents had become rampant these days.

Speaking in an interview yesterday, secretary-general of the association Paul Makiwa said public transport operators must give work to drivers who are licensed to drive public transport and are of the qualifying age group.

He said the reason why road carnages were escalating these days was because public transport operators employed drivers recklessly without looking at their age and qualifications.

“There is a prescribed age group of people who must drive public transport and the licences category which qualifies them. Accidents are caused by operators who employ people just because they can demonstrate knowledge of driving without the real papers,” said Makiwa.

“When an unlicensed driver sees police at roadblock, he/she tries to evade them thereby putting passengers in danger and even causing accidents.”

Makiwa said even the drivers must not accept a job they knew they were not qualified to do because it put them at risk of being arrested and even causing death of the innocent travellers.

Makiwa also bemoaned the bad state of roads in the country as one of the many contributors of accidents.

“Overloading of public transport, speeding and poor road network are the major contributors of road carnage in Zimbabwe and we challenge the powers that be to resolve these problems as a matter of urgency,” said Makiwa.

ZPA president Evans Chitsiga said also the issue of public transport operating overnight was one of the major causes of accidents and the association was concerned whether the buses timetable system which used to limit movement of buses still existed.

“When buses travel at night they move at high speed because police will no longer be mounting roadblocks. This has resulted in many lives being claimed in accidents. As an association we say the timetable system must be strictly resumed and followed to reduce road carnage,” said Chitsiga.

Traffic police and the Traffic Safety Board blame most accidents on unroadworthy vehicles and speeding.