The Sunday Mail
Deputy News Editor
RECKLESS drivers who routinely violate road regulations will have their driver’s licences revoked under a new system set to be introduced by the Government soon.
Authorities are preparing to roll out a driver’s licence penalty points system to deal with irresponsible driving by serial violators of road rules, who can now have their licences cancelled or suspended.
Under the system, drivers accumulate demerit points onto their licences upon conviction of traffic offences committed over a defined period of time.
The licence will be revoked or suspended when the driver has accumulated a pre-defined amount of demerit point.
The Government has acquired 10 high-tech scanners which are being used to create a digital database at the Central Vehicle Registry in preparation for the roll out.
The database will be linked to the police to allow for law enforcement officers to apportion the demerit points to individual drivers upon committing a road infraction.
Transport and Infrastructural Development secretary Engineer Thedius Chinyanga told The Sunday Mail that serial offenders will have their licences suspended.
“The system will start working when we have set up an electronic database that allows police to dock points for road regulation infractions because it is the police and not the Ministry that will be responsible for implementing the new system,” said Eng Chinyanga.
“Each offence will be allocated a certain amount of points and after a driver reaches a defined number of points, then their licence will be suspended.
“For example, we can allocate three points for passing through a red robot or a parking offence.
“In cases where there is an accident, if it is concluded that a certain driver was responsible for causing the accident due to reckessness then a certain number of points will be allocated to them.
“These points are then added together over a defined period of time; it could be after a year or five years and if you have reached a certain threshold then your licence will be suspended.”
Eng Chinyanga told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development last week that a roll out of the new system was imminent.
“The Ministry successfully managed to have the principles for the implementation of the driver penalty points system captured in the Road Traffic Act Cap [13:11],” he said.
“As a result, for a driver penalty points system to be implemented successfully, an electronic database for drivers is required to enable police to capture the details of the driver and the traffic offence when it occurs.
“The delay in the implementation of the penalty point system is because our current database for drivers is manual.
“However, the Ministry has received 10 scanners that were imported to enable the capturing of the driver details from the manual database to the electronic database being created at Central Vehicle Registry.
“Once the process of capturing is done and data integrated with other road related information/data, the law enforcement included, the system can then be piloted.”
In the six years to December 2018, more than 12 000 people were killed in over 280 000 road traffic accidents in Zimbabwe, official statistics show.
Over that period, nearly 100 000 people were injured on the country’s roads, with 2018 a particularly grim year, accounting for close to 60 000 traffic accidents.
Most of the accidents were attributed to human error, mainly failure to observe speed limits, driving under the influence of intoxicating substances, non-compliance or absence of safety provisions and distractions to drivers due to the use of mobile phones.
Eng Chinyanga said all public service vehicles should be fitted with speed limiting devices before being allowed on the road.
The devices are designed to limit the speeds of public service vehicles and in turn curb road accidents.
In terms of Statutory Instrument 129 of 2015, no person is allowed to drive a passenger public service vehicle or a heavy vehicle without a speed monitoring or speed limiting devices.
Offenders could face up to six months in prison or a fine for violating the regulations.
“The fitment of these devices is checked by law enforcement agents and by the Vehicle Inspectorate Department inspecting officers as part of the requirement for the vehicle to be issued a certificate of fitness.
“The owner of that motor vehicle shall keep in a safe place for a period of not less than six months, all records from the device fitted to his/her vehicle.”