Zimbabwe News

Government mulls raising minimum age for kombi and bus drivers to 30 years

The government plans to raise the minimum age for kombi and bus drivers from the current 25 years to 30 years to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities, largely attributed to reckless driving.

Speaking during the Question and Answer session in the Senate last Thursday, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Felix Mhona said that raising the minimum age for all public service drivers will ensure that only mature and experienced drivers will drive kombis and buses. Said Mhona (via The Herald):

I am sure the legal department in my Ministry is working with the Attorney General in that regard and we are saying for public vehicles, we were sticking to 25 years and we are now advocating to increase.

Within the SADC region, the minimum age is 30 years for public service vehicles and that will then address the overzealousness of some of these drivers that are driving our public service vehicles.

We are losing close to 2,000 per annum in terms of fatalities, which is not sustainable and when it comes to the monetary element, we are losing close to US$406 million per year towards fatalities, injuries, hospitalisations and even causing unnecessary burden to beneficiaries.

Commenting on the proposal to raise the minimum age limit for public service drivers, Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators (GHACO) chairman, Ngoni Katsvairo, said:

Experience and maturity come with age, which is why the constitution stipulates that one must be 40 years or older to be considered for Presidential election candidacy.

However, Zimbabwe Union of Drivers and Conductors (ZUDCO) president, Fradreck Maguramhinga said the country does not have a lot of drivers that are over the age of 25. He said:

While we understand the need for more mature drivers, we have very mature drivers between 25 and 30 years old

The majority of drivers who are being reckless are below 25 and we propose maintaining the 25-year age limit for small public service vehicles like commuter omnibuses, as drivers tend to prefer heavy-duty trucks and buses once they reach 30.

In 2023, the government promulgated Statutory Instrument 118 of 2023 which requires public service vehicles, including buses, are required to be fitted with speed-limiting devices to ensure their speeds do not exceed 100 km/h.

This measure was introduced in response to an increase in bus accidents attributed to speeding.

These speed limiters are installed permanently and can work for a lifetime if drivers do not tamper with them.

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