Motorists are calling on government to reverse the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) ban on weekend defensive driving courses (DDCs) which took effect from Friday last week.
By JAIROS SAUNYAMA
According to an order by TSCZ managing director Obio Chinyere that was sent to all regional managers gleaned by this paper, DDCs have been banned during weekends, with drivers instructed to do the courses midweek.
“Please, be advised that with effect from August 1, 2019, we will no longer be able to offer weekend defensive driving courses to the public and invigilation at any of our affiliates-co-operating agencies. Regional managers and proprietors of co-operating agencies are hereby advised to make sure that all courses and invigilations are done from Mondays to Fridays only between 0745hrs to 1745hrs,” read the letter.
According to statistics, drivers who underwent DDCs are less involved in road accidents that are claiming an average of 2 000 lives annually, with human error the cause in 90% of road cases.
The TSCZ has been holding weekend classes since its formation in 2000.
Motorists who spoke to NewsDay yesterday said government should intervene and reverse the move by TSCZ, because it has detrimental effects in fighting road carnage in the country.
“We are stranded as public transport drivers after this move to ban defensive courses during weekends. Most of us, we find time at weekends and given that the courses are banned, it means a lot of drivers are affected. There is need to open the platform so that more people acquire these defensive certificates. The Heroes Holidays are upon us and government cannot allow the banning of DDCs during weekends (unless they want) people to perish,” said Cainos Murambiwa, a Marondera-based truck driver.
Recently, Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Joel Biggie Matiza said government was currently seized with deaths on the roads such that they are contemplating to enforce a compulsory DDC for every motorist.
Efforts to get a comment from TSCZ spokesperson Tatenda Chinoda were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.
According to a research paper conducted by the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) in April 2018, more than 70% of drivers involved in fatal accidents during the 2017/2018 festive season had no DDCs. During the same period a total of 30 drivers were killed, 13 injured and 91 unhurt. Moreover, during the 2017/2018 festive season, 76 drivers involved in road accidents had no driver’s licences (51,7%).