New Zimbabwe (London)

Zimbabwe: Govt Mulls Driving Age Change - Mpofu

GOVERNMENT will seek to change the legal age for public transport drivers to help curb the continued increase in fatal accidents on the country's roads, Transport Minister Obert Mpofu said Wednesday.

Mpofu told journalists on the side-lines of an awareness workshop on the problem of stray animals on the country's roads that official statistics show that younger drivers cause more accidents than older ones.

"The information we have received tells us that drivers between the ages of 24-30 years cause more fatal accidents that those from 40 years and beyond.

"We will now spearhead efforts to change the law and make sure that those entrusted with driving public transport are much older than we have now.

"We cannot entrust 70 lives on a bus to a 25-year-olds who should be in college, they get excited at times and that has caused massive suffering in our people due to deaths and injuries," said Mpofu.

He said Zimbabwe now has more unlicensed drivers than those legally authorised to drive.

"It is a reflection of something wrong with our system and we are working to correct that.

"The surprising part is that we have transport operators employing unlicensed drivers because they are paid much less but at what costs to the nation," queried Mpofu.

"We now need review most of our statutes the greater part of them old and colonial to synchronise them and make sure they reflect the movement our people have made in education and culture traits," he said.

The minister said government was now working on the Zimbabwe Integrated Transport Information Management System (ZIMTIS) that will revolutionalise the country's transport sector.

"We are still consulting but as soon as we are done this ZIMTIS will result in the real-time connection of departments such as the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID), Road Motor Transportation (RMT), the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA) and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and security services," Mpofu said.

Zimbabwe was last year ranked as the third most corrupt country in Africa with the VID and police placed as the most graft ridden government institutions in the country.

Mpofu's ministry is also working on a new driver training manual. The current High-way Code is over 40 years old.

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