Malawi: People Implore Road Traffic Directorate to Vet Bus Driver's Licenses Before Employment

3 November 2019

Following continued occurrences of accidents on the roads of Malawi involving big buses, some members of the general public are asking if the Road Traffic Directorate should be advising bus companies to be liaising with the Directorate whenever they are employing new bus drivers.

This follows the accident that happened in the early hours of Saturday morning around Nkhamenya in Kasungu District involving one of the newly-acquired Malawi Post Corporation (MPC) coaches, which has claimed the life Hosea Mologera -- an Immigration Officer from Mzuzu.

A statement from MPC's Board and Management says Mologera died on the spot while three others sustained serious injuries with 14 others sustaining minor injuries.

"Details are that, Post Bus registration number BW7919 traveling from Blantyre to Mzuzu which had 26 passengers and two crew members on board overturned at Nkhamenya.

"The Board, Management and Staff of MPC sincerely consoles the family and is currently doing everything possible to ensure that all the affected passengers have been assisted.

"MPC will keep the public updated as the Malawi Police Service is currently undertaking further investigations on the accident," says the statement.

MPC acquired seven coaches, bought at K700 million through a loan from the FDH Bank and were launched on October 4 by Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology, Mark Botomani at a colorful ceremony in Lilongwe.

The advise on social media is that before they are employed, the Directorate should be vetting the drivers licences because it is suspected most of them have truck driving license EC not bus driving D.

"Please, don't allow this, otherwise accidents will continue in our roads. Get experienced drivers.

"Most of these accident are occurring because some are only lorry drivers, coupled with poor roads we have," commented Nkoloma Charles on Facebook.

To which Tumeyo Banda replied that it's a mystery as to what happened because double diff buses are very stable and not likely to lose balance as did with the MPC coach that fell on its side.

Another said this usually happens when the driver is distracted when in top speed.

"These buses are supposed to be installed with GPS system by the Traffic Directorate to monitor their speed. They should not drive at a speed of more than 100km/hr.

"Any driver who does that should have his license suspended. This is what is being applied in Zambia," said Chipeta Chipeta.

Chimbe Kaduya concurs, saying; "Way back one manager at British Petroleum said 'every road accident is man made', and this is true.

"An experienced and skilled driver will never wreck his car unless a careless driver bashes him. An experienced driver thinks of the following: the type of car he is driving; the speed in use; road condition and time of the day."

He adds that such an experienced and skilled driver also considers other road users, his passengers lives and that of his own that can affect his family and relatives as well as the car or its owner.

"If you don't think of these when driving, you are a poor driver. Poor roads (potholes) and reckless driving are some of the main causes of accident here in Malawi.

Kaduya asks the government to seriously allocate more money to the Ministry of Transport and Public Works for extensive road rehabilitation currently being carried out across the country.

Trassizio Makwanda added his voice by saying the condition of a driver could be a chief cause of accidents on the roads.

"From my basic knowledge on the causes of accidents include over speeding, ignorance of road rules and regulations, failing to adhere and follow road rules and regulations, intoxication and condition of a driver," he said.

While Peter Moliyati Manda said there is a influx of modern and very fast car on the Malawian roads, which does not match conditions of the roads.

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