THE government has announced controversial new plans to force drivers to retest every three years – claiming this would improve driving and reduce accidents.
Learner drivers will also be tested at night under the planned reforms following representations by safety campaigners who point out that most accidents occur at night.
Secretary for Transport, Partson Mbiriri said the plans were part of efforts to curb carnage on the country’s roads as research findings suggest road traffic accidents could soon become a bigger killer than HIV/Aids and Malaria.
However, the Vehicle Inspection Department would need to be expanded if it is to cope with the increased number of tests.
"We can hardly cope with drivers licence issuance, what more if we introduce annual inspections? That would be enormous in terms of capacity. But going forward, it's something we are considering. It might not be annually, but after say two or three years," he said.
Mbirimi was speaking a meeting held in Harare to discuss government plans to ban the importation of vehicles older than five years.
Allowance Sango a director in the Ministry of Transport also weighed-in suggesting a driver’s licence should not be a permanent document.
"A driver's licence should not be a life document like a birth certificate or national registration card,” Sango said.
“There should be retesting, it is known that there are a lot of ailments that come with age.”
Scores of people were killed in two bus crashes that occurred last month alone with experts blaming the speeding drivers, aging vehicles and the state of the country’s road network.
Efforts by the government to expand some of the country’s major motorways into dual carriageways have been hampered by the lack of funds.