In a bid to tame Zimbabwe’s traffic jungle that has witnessed massive road carnages in recent years, government has moved to stop holders of newly-acquired Class Two (2) driver’s licences from steering articulated haulage trucks popularly known as ‘gonyeti’.
Due to high unemployment levels at home, many Zimbabweans were resorting to acquiring that category of driving licence and seek jobs as truckers locally and abroad.
But in the wake of many fatalities on the country’s highways, government through the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) now requires those would-be professional truck drivers to undergo additional testing, including eye sight and other biometrics, to get a Professional Drivers Permit and Defensive Driver’s Certificate consolidated into a single card.
Professional drivers will be progressively certified unlike the current scenario whereby one instantly becomes a professional driver on obtaining a Class Two driver’s disc.
Addressing journalists in Harare Wednesday, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Felix Mhona said 13 categories of the new driving licence will, amongst others, make provision for the combination categories of a vehicle and trailer.
“The new categories will also accommodate the different sizes of vehicles and prevent the current scenario where drivers are tested on a small vehicle and then be authorised to drive a very large vehicle which the driver may not be able to control in a safe manner,” Mhona said.
Professional driver’s permits will be renewed after every two years while other categories of drivers undergo eye testing and updating of biometric records after every five years.
The minister revealed plans to replace the current metal driver’s licences with a new plastic disc which modalities he said were at an advanced stage as the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) moves Zimbabwe into line with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).
In the region, South Africa and some other countries already use plastic discs.
Currently, those who pass driver’s tests at VID depots countrywide, are immediately issued with a temporary paper licence before obtaining the metal licence a few months later.
One of the advantages of the new plastic licences is that they will be printed instantly and have security features that will make them difficult to forge, as well as being scannable so checks immediately confirm authenticity and reveal any legal issues.
The plastic disc will be issued from June 19, after launching the new national driver’s licences.
“The Second Republic is committed to formulating robust legal, policy and administrative mechanisms to improve the country’s Road Safety Performance as it seeks to achieve the targets set within the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1,” said the transport minister.
“In January this year, we held the National Road Safety Indaba which resolved to introduce speed-limiting devices, vehicle tracking devices and a Government monitored Vehicle Tracking System for all public service buses.
“The Vehicle Tracking System will ensure compliance with prescribed speed limits, and make it easier to identify, in real-time, the driver of a particular bus. Pursuant to this, legal frameworks to introduce speed limiting and monitoring devices will soon be introduced,” he said.
Minister Mhona said commitment is to improving the enforcement capacity of all traffic law enforcement agents by embracing Information Communication Technology (ICT) and digital technologies to record violations and enforce traffic regulations.
“This is also consistent with the objectives of NDS 1 to modernise the economy using ICT and other digital technologies. My Ministry will also establish a National Call Centre for the public to report those using unsafe vehicles and report negligent and reckless driving.
“The new National Driving Licence System that we will be launching soon will also enhance our capacity to develop an electronic Database of all licenced Drivers which will be linked to all relevant stakeholders and enforcement agencies.
“The 13 categories of the new Driving Licence conform to the requirements of the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic; International Organization for Standardization and International Electro-technical Commission,” he said.
In other news – Zimbabwean actress features in US film
United States-based Zimbabwean actress Bella Kouds says she is excited to be part of the short film The E’s, which is expected to be out in September.
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