The Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) has with immediate effect closed 61 driving schools out of the 100 that were inspected countrywide for failure to conform to the required standards.
And the Agency has disclosed that it has in the first quarter of this year collected a total of K110.4 million as road user fees from the general public on behalf of government.
RTSA Chief Executive Officer Zindaba Soko said this development follows the countrywide inspection of driving schools that the Agency undertook recently, where it was discovered that over 90 per cent of the driving schools in Zambia do not conform to the required standards.
“Among the driving schools that are barred are: Abecon, Auto Drive Driving School, Best Bike Driving School, Camel, Forward Driving School K and C, Kakeka, KOM, Maticus, Presmark Rinos, Shalom, Silvia, Drive mate Driving School all of Lusaka.
“Others are, Mbumwaye and Kabanga Driving Schools, all from Southern Province. The other driving Schools that have been closed are, MSI, 2010 driving school, connect, Galaxy driving school all of Copper belt Province,” Mr Soko said.
Mr Soko further disclosed during a media briefing in Lusaka May 31st 2014 that RTSA has also revoked the Driving School Licenses for Drive Mate Driving School and has also suspended the Driving School Licenses for five Driving Schools on the Copperbelt.
He stressed that the Agency will not in any way transact with any of the closed driving schools.
He noted that there are a lot of illegal driving schools in the country that have negatively contributed to the high number of road accidents in the country, saying to this effect, a special operation will soon be conducted to clap down all the illegal driving schools in the country.
Mr Soko also revealed that the fast track court which RTSA launched in Lusaka together the Judiciary and the Lusaka City Council (LCC) has in the past five months convicted over 3,500 people for various traffic offences.
He said unlicensed drivers have continued to top the list of offenders followed by dangerous driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and obstruction of motorway by motor vehicle.
Mr Soko said as a way of promoting road safety and adherence to road traffic regulations, the Agency in collaboration with the Judiciary plans to roll out the Fast Track Court on Traffic Offences to all the ten provinces in the country.
He said in the third quarter of 2014, the fast track courts on Traffic offences will be rolled out to Kabwe, Livingstone, Chipata, Ndola and Kitwe.
And the RTSA Chief Executive Officer disclosed that the Agency has in the first quarter of this year collected about K 110.4 million on behalf of the Government as road user fee.
Mr Soko stressed that a review of the Agency operations reveals that the Agency has great potential to increase its revenue collections, improve road safety profile and meaningfully contribute to national development.
He further stated that owing to the fact that the RTSA is not present in over 50 percent of the areas in Zambia, the levels of compliance to road safety regulations has continued to deteriorate and government is losing over 50 per cent of uncollected tax from road user fees and permits.
He however, stated that currently, registration of motor vehicles has been decentralized, which means that motor vehicle and trailer registration can now be done at any RTSA station in the country.
Mr Soko said the road safety agency is now working on modalities to decentralize the printing of driver’s license.
Meanwhile, Mr Soko revealed that RTSA plans to strengthen the Enforcement Unit by employing over 100 Road Traffic Inspectors so as to increase routine patrols in order to ensure enhanced and sustainable road safety enforcement.
He said Currently the Agency has only about 70 Road Traffic Inspectors against the culminated total of about 600,000 registered motor vehicles in the count, meaning that one Road Traffic Inspector is managing overs 1500 vehicles.
He said besides the routine patrols on the highways, the Agency has initiated the process of procuring CCTV to be installed on highways.
Mr Soko said this process has reached a stage where the Agency will soon be inviting the expression of interest to survey the highways and map out strategic points where to install the CCTVs.
He said the need for more personnel coupled with the installation of CCTVs along the highways is paramount especially with the opening of new corridors such as the link 8000 road project.
Mr Soko further disclosed that Minister of Transport, Works, supply and Communication Yamfya Mukanga will soon be handing over two toll trucks to the Agency which will be used to sweep out stationed vehicles that pose a great danger to road safety especially on the highways.