WITH reports that Zambia loses about 2,000 human lives every year, Zambians and public service transport owners are now busy looking for drivers who can insure passengers' lives by ensuring that passengers reach their respective destinations safely.
Green Siame, 41, is such a driver who believes in travellers' safety and safe arrival at their respective destination.
Born from Anania Siame and Enala Namonje as father and mother respectively in Msindano Village of Isoka District, Green's first career choice was to be a pilot. He did his primary school education at Mukumbe Primary School ;and went to Isoka Boys Secondary School where he stopped in Grade 10 in 1989.
'My first career choice was to be a pilot. I wanted to be flying planes; but things didn't work out the way I thought they would;' Siame said while reflecting on his initial career choice.
Arising from his father's(Anania's) death which made it difficult for him to continue his formal education, Mr Siame only managed to go as far as Grade 10 in his formal education.
Considering the qualifications needed for one to train as a pilot, and having stopped his formal education in grade 10, Mr Siame started feeling the loss of his desire to be a pilot. To achieve his first career choice of being a pilot, he started a grocery business to raise money for continuing his formal education to reach grade 12.
But life became unbearable after the loss of his father. The grocery business wasn't doing well to raise enough money to facilitate his continued formal education up to grade 12 and then go for training as a pilot.
As chances of being a pilot waned further as a result of his grocery business not doing well, Mr Siame started developing interest in driving career. The desire to be a driver increased as his grocery business dwindled further.
Mr Siame said in 1990 his driving career dream materialised when he started driving a canter vehicle transporting fish from Kariba, Mweru wa tipa and Kashikishi. He says he started driving with class 'G & I' (now class B); and now he has a public service vehicle (PSV) driving licence.
When asked what factors ensure travellers' safety on the road, Mr Siame revealed that the condition of the road, road signs and driver's personality determine travellers' safety or create accidents on roads.
Mr Siamen said the conditions of most roads in Zambia need much to be desired as potholes and absence of road signs can contribute to high road accident rates.
Asked about the role a driver plays in preventing or causing an accident, Mr Siame pensively said that drivers need to be patient at all times while driving.
'Patience in driving passenger service vehicles pays a lot;' he said.
Mr Siame said driving passengers is a noble career. He described driving as highly respected career as one carries different human lives; from one place to another.
'Any person worth a PSV driver should have passion for driving passengers safely;' he said.
Being reminded of how pressure from employers on passenger service vehicle drivers to bring more money within a short time, and how such a pressure can affect a driver's patience, Mr Siame said drivers should put serving human life as top priority to other pressures. He also said if there is any pressure from bus owners to drive fast in order to cover more trips; and therefore bring more money within a short time, any responsible driver should always know that when an accident happens; and passengers die, it is a driver concerned who appears before the police and later he appears before the courts of law.
'Mr Ndhlovu, look! This bus carries about 70 passengers. This means carrying 70 human lives which can be destroyed within a short time if I am careless with my driving;' Mr Siame.
He said driving needs patience; and to be handled carefully in every situation.
And Francis Miti, 30, who first knew Mr Siame when the latter was driving Chibanga Moto Bus Services from Luwingu district to Lusaka said he (Miti) has been travelling on buses that Mr Siame drives for some time now. Mr Miti who travelled on buses Mr Siame was driving from Luwingu to Lusaka for four (4) years described Mr Siame as a very good driver who cares for passengers' lives.
'Mr Siame has always been a good driver. He is quiet and helpful to passengers he carries;' Mr Miti appreciated Mr Siame's driving conduct, personality and attitude on while on driving duties.
Mr Miti described Mr Siame as a PSV driver who knows how to serve passengers and save their lives at all times.
The careful driver said he believes that when his bus loaded with passengers leaves at a bus station; he prays that such passengers should reach their respective destination safely.
Mr Ndhlovu, when a bus I am driving leaves a bus station, I pray hard to God that he guides me for passengers I am carrying to reach their respective destinations safely;' he said calmly.
Mr Siame who has worked for two other public service passenger companies before advised his colleagues in the driving career to keep their driving career's record clean in order for each driver to last long with a good name in one's driving career.
He said each person feeds his or her family through a certain career; and it is important to safeguard one's career through good personal and professional conduct.
Observing that nowadays anyone who has failed to get into any other career just goes for a driving career, Mr Siame said while anyone can be a driver, one's personality is critical in successful driving career.
Mr Siame who is now working for Johabie Bus Services said cool personality helps one to control one's approach to various situations which can create an accident on the road. He said people who fail to control their emotions can be dangerous drivers not only to passengers but also to other road users.
The careful driver said driving while under the influence of alcohol is one of the major causes of many road traffic accidents.
Mr Siame said drivers should always pay particular attention to the sound one's vehicle is giving while driving that vehicle; and should avoid driving faulty vehicles. He cautioned his fellow drivers against over speeding as this is also one of the causes of high road carnage.
He also appealed to the government through Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) to put respective road signs on every part of the road; and increase road traffic patrols as some drivers park their faulty vehicles on the wrong parts of the road where one can hit into it without realizing that there is a packed vehicle ahead.
Mr Siame concluded that with patience and careful driving, road carnage in Zambia can reduce tremendously.
The author is a trainer and career coach.
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