Road traffic accidents in Zambia have remained unabated in the past decade and outdated driving licensing laws are a root cause of accidents

Lusaka, Zambia – 22rd April 2015. Zambian laws on driver licensing are not clear or practical and as a result many lives are at risk from incompetent drivers . The Zambian Road Safety Trust (ZRST) have been told that a significant number of people driving on Zambian roads either obtained their licenses unlawfully or are unlicensed.

An investigation conducted by the Trust to ascertain how people obtain driving licenses and the difficult they face, revealed that the process of obtaining a requisite license lacks basic competence, convenience or expediency for a normal law abiding citizen or foreigner who wants to get one. The Trust is appealing to the Road Transport Safety Agency (RTSA) to investigate its findings and quickly overhaul the driving licensing laws before many more innocent lives are lost .

Some of the survey findings by the Trust revealed that:
• There is an established license racketeering network of officials and some deviants who have taken advantage of the “lack of competence” of obtaining a driving license at RTSA and are issuing licenses to unqualified individuals for their personal monetary gain.
• According to sources within the Police, from their experience they acknowledge that over 50% of drivers either do not have a license or are holding one illegally endangering many innocent lives on our roads.
• Licensing offices are often surrounded by a number of pimps and middlemen who facilitate issuance and renewal of licenses on a payment of a bribe.
• There is too much cumbersome bureaucratic practices in the licensing process and outdated testing dispensation for the issuance of licenses. For example, a practically test may take less than 1 minute, before you are told that you have failed for reasons nothing to do with the test itself.
• For many people the apathetic attitude of some officials worsens the situation and paying a “fee” is a shortcut clearance to obtaining their requisite licenses.

Chairman of the Zambian Road Safety Trust, Mr Daniel Mwamba said:

” Given the above findings, handing out driving licenses solely on the basis of bribes because the process lacks competence increases the chances of accidents particularly when we have a surge in numbers of vehicles on our roads. We appeal to RTSA to urgently overhaul the driver licensing laws as bribery will destroy our country and increase road-related fatalities. The Trust has proven initiatives that can help tackle the growing road pandemic.”

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Notes for Editors:
ZAMBIAN ROAD SAFETY TRUST
The Zambian Road Safety Trust (ZRST), a not for profit organisation, seeks to create awareness on road safety and contribute towards reduction in road traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities. Zambia, with almost 2,000 deaths in road crashes per year, is one of the worst performing countries, as far as road safety is concerned. The trust has a particular role to play in terms of personalising the Road Safety Issue, creating a sense of urgency and generating a demand for safety from the public.