Another serious accident this week, and 10 lives lost. A bus and a truck colliding at high speed. Once again it has happened along the deadly Great North Road, the only route connecting Lusaka to the Copper Belt and Northern Zambia, and therefore highly congested. A road seemingly forgotten by RDA (road development agency). Today the headlines tell us that the bus operator involved has had their licence revoked. And perhaps they should, as their safety records are not good. But by doing so I feel that the government is simply looking for a scapegoat. There are so many factors that they are ignoring by simply putting the blame on the operator.
With the increase of traffic, and subsequently accidents, in the last few years the Great North road should have been a priority for expansion. But all we are told is that a dual-carriage way is in the pipeline, I wonder how many more lives will be lost before we see change? The authorities have recently put a curfew banning trucks and public transport vehicles moving at night, but I think it has had the opposite effect to the one desired. Instead of safer roads, the increased congestion, especially during morning rush hour, has increased the risk of accidents.
For our roads, and in particular the Great North road, to become safer we need to see a change on many levels:
-The attitudes of the drivers; in particular those of heavy trucks and buses.
-Stricter tests when giving out driving licences.
-Improvement of the roads; dual-carriage way from Lusaka to Ndola.
-Harder controls of the vehicles; RTSA to do their job and take faulty vehicles off the roads.
-Eliminate corruption in the road sectors, starting with the traffic police.
For the time being there will be one bus operator less on the roads, which will only put more pressure on the other ones. We need long term solution to stop the road carnage along the legendary Great North road!