Wednesday, 17 August 2016

MANDATORY RESISTS FOR DRIVERS LOOM

Licences for non-public service vehicle drivers should expire so that they are re-examined to assess competence and suitability as a means to curb road carnage, a parliamentary portfolio committee has proposed.

The reforms, if adopted, would also include the commercialisation of the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) to ensure it operates efficiently.

Only drivers of public service vehicles undergo periodic tests, which include competence and physical status checks to assess suitability to continue driving on the country’s roads.
The parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development chairperson Cde Dexter Nduna said the reforms would be in keeping with international best practices. “Our licences are the only ones which do not expire while a lot changes in the course of one’s life with some having constrained eyesight and other physical changes which limits their competence to remain on our roads,” said Cde Nduna.

“The licences are the only ones which do not expire and yet the owner can lose some of their faculties thereby putting the life of others at risk.”

The call comes at a time when statistics show that 85 percent of road accidents are a result of human error. Cde Nduna said age also plays a key role in judgement, eyesight and reaction to situations.

In some countries, for instance driving is restricted to 75 years with special dispensation for some types of roads after undergoing assessment.

On the commercialisation of VID, Cde Nduna said this would include computerisation and integration of all departments including the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR), which issues licences into the transport system.

It is expected that this would curb corruption that has forced a significant number of people to clandestinely get certificates of competence. This would include increasing the number of VID inspection and testing depots to 38 from the current 23 to boost revenue and dividend to Government.

VID is realising about $2 million per month translating to around $24 million per year which is expected to grow to around $110 million with the implementation of the reforms.
“Commercialisation of VID will broaden the revenue base for both the department and government,” said Cde Nduna.

He said the inspection role of VID would be extended to non-public service vehicles which bear the black on yellow number plates.

Officials in the ministry however, hinted on the existence of such proposals which are believed to be at various levels of implementation and consideration.
Minister Dr Joram Gumbo referred all questions to technocrats in the ministry for clarification.

“These are technical issues and operational issues, technical people should respond,” he said. herald

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