MINISTER of Transport and Logistics Frank Tayali has questioned the standard of driving training that has been employed in the country in view of the increasing cases of road accidents.

Addressing the media, Thursday, Tayali said a study had revealed that most of the accidents in Zambia were a result of driver error.

“Yesterday (Wednesday) there was a launch of a road safety programme where a study revealed that most of the accidents on our Zambian roads, about 80 percent of them are due to humans and in this particular case we are talking about driver error. This situation is something that we have been closely looking at and trying to find where the real problem is in so far as these carnages are concerned. When the study points to driver error, then the question begs, what standard of driver training have we employed in this country?” he asked.

“Do we have the right driving schools out there, or are we having to take shortcuts in giving licenses, in particular, PSV drivers licenses to people that may not be necessarily competent to drive at that level? Have these drivers undergone what is called defensive driver training? I have been asked to really get a lasting solution as to why we must continue having vehicles overspeeding for instance, in areas where they are not supposed to overspeed, particularly also looking at the state of the roads [which] isn’t that all good.”

And Tayali said government was committed to revitalizing the railway sub-sector and would need to make significant investments in order to improve operations in the sub sector.

“It is not acceptable that we must allow for impropriety as far as acquisition of land is concerned. When you find what appears to be a bare piece of land, it might not necessarily be bare and when land is reserved for rail we have to respect that particular component. We are not going to sit as a country and say that we are not going to have a rail network in this country. What we should be thinking of is revitalizing the rail sub sector. There is a master plan as far as which route this rail is going to take. Sadly for those that have built on railway land, it remains railway land and because of that, we may need to move and compensate these particular people that have invested their hard earned money on the rail track. What we need is a win-win situation. We envisaged investment in the rail sub sector to bring back the rail to service to the citizens of this country,” said Tayali.

“This is why it has now become imperative that we now make significant investments in the rail sub sector. The rail is very capable of handling bulk cargo, but at the moment and in its state, the speeds of the locomotives are so slow that it does not make economic sense. I think we really need to make significant investments in the rail sub sector, improve the operations of rail companies so that then, that SI will make sense and that we would have improved the capacity of the rail companies to be able to meet that 50 percent that the SI talks about.”