Motorists have finally accepted speed cameras – RTSA boss

Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) acting chief executive officer Gladwell Banda says motorists have finally accepted speed trap cameras installed on most public roads.

Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Banda also reiterated that the Zambian law only allowed vehicles to go as far as 100Km/h, but that the Agency revised that to 120Km/h.

“When the project started, as an Agency, we had to advertise that we have got these numbers of cameras and they will be at such places. Remember that these cameras were not supposed to be hidden and those complaints came from the public and we advertised where they were going to be and the speed limit for those areas. And when these cameras were put on the road, the behaviour of speeding went down to the effect that they were not necessary. People now were driving below that limit. And when we removed that camera, that behaviour (excessive speeding) continued,” Banda said.

“We have seen that in Lusaka where they have been put (speed cameras), there has been a change in terms of speeding on our roads. So, the acceptance levels…I would say that they have been accepted and to say that, really, the speed that we were driving at was much higher. And people have been given notices that they have been speeding and they have accepted. So, places where they used to be because these cameras were being moved to places where you notice that there are a lot of accidents happening, and where people are being bashed. Once you put it there and the behavior there changes. So, they are being accepted, yes, although as an Agency, we want to (place) above what we have where these cameras are being shifted to a permanent fitting.”

Banda said the Agency had also made adjustments to the speed limits on some roads within Lusaka following complaints by motorists that some stretches had very low limits.

“There was an argument that the speed limits were too low. So, we sat as RTSA through the guidance of Ministry of Transport, of course, yes, we have some stretches for sure (where) you find that (the speed limit) is 60Km/h and there is no risk and you won’t even have people crossing around. So, we looked at it from the Kabwe roundabout to the Airport roundabout and we changed; where it was 60 (Km/h), we put (to) 80 (Km/h). From Great East Road, we went through Kafue Road and we have made some amendments on speed although not a lot because there is a lot of crossing of people on Kafue Road. But our desire is to go through all the roads and see which speed (limits) need to be amended,” he said.

He said by law, vehicles could only go as far as 120Km/h in terms of speed.

“In Zambia, the highest speed you get in Zambia, today, by law is a 100Km/h. If you get to a built-up area like Chisamba where there are many people on the highway, you need to get down to 60Km/h. The maximum speed in Zambia, by law, in Zambia is 100Km/h, but most people are breaking the law. But there is an SI, which we have revised and it’s now 120Km/h. All vehicles go beyond 100Km/h, but for you to be safe on the road, 120Km/h is a very good speed, for us, we are okay with it,” Banda said.

He added that bus drivers in some selected roads were temporarily allowed to park along the roads when picking or dropping off passengers due to bus stops closed by road contractors during road works.

“We have seen construction of roads, currently, and even here in Lusaka. The other concern that has been brought to RTSA is that we don’t have sufficient bus stations. Whilst the passenger bus stops are there, but there are other places where the construction has happened and they have left out places where buses can even park. For other stretches, like Burma Road, you find that there are places where there used to be bus stops before, but they have closed them up. Yes, these bus drivers may park on certain roads, but there is no bus stop anywhere. It’s not okay (for bus drivers to park anywhere), but if you look at how these roads have been constructed, we need to take care of all road users. It’s wrong, but also on our side, we need to make sure that we provide such infrastructure,” he said.

And Banda disclosed that the truck driver, who claimed lives at Buseko Market last month, had tampered with the GPS report.

“For instance, if I take you to the accident, which recently happened at Buseko Market along Lumumba Road where a truck went into the market where there were people and we lost lives, which we were not supposed to have lost. What care did the driver have for the environment around him? What was the speed limit in the area where that accident happened? We called for the company and asked for those questions, they can’t give us answers. They say that that vehicle was on GPS and we told them we want the GPS report; that report has been tampered with,” said Banda.

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