World Health Organisation (WHO) has named Malawi as one of the countries with the highest record of road traffic accidents in Africa.
The report attributes the accidents mostly to laxity in enforcing traffic rules due to rampant corruption, poor road conditions, lack of pedestrian infrastructure such as pavements and crossing points, and dismal accident and emergency care.
The report comes against the backdrop of Malawiintroducing the Malawi Traffic Information System (Maltis) to curb road accidents which are said to kill more people than malaria.
He said: “The Maltis was introduced to address the high levels of accidents in the country. I know it was too much because at some point, I know Malawi was the highest within the region, that is why I am not surprised.
“Before Maltis, people were using other means to obtain licences and, in the end, this reflected very badly on Malawi because these people failed to follow road instructions, hence Malawi having the highest rates of accidents.
But what I can assure you is that this will soon be history because of the Maltis.”
Chitimbe added that Maltis, over time, will flush out all drivers who obtained their licences using other unscrupulous means.
Director of Department of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS), Jacques Manong’a, said the rate of aptitude test failure by many drivers raises a lot of questions as to how the licence was obtained in the first place.
He further said Maltis will not only enforce adherence to road regulation but also help instill discipline among road users because the system will also detect bad road users.
Said Manong’a: “From what is being experienced at the DRTSS, the report is true and reflective. There are other instances where minibus touts have found their way into driving and in no time have got hold of the driver’s licences. This has raised several questions and to how such people were able to get licences. However, the Maltis, over time, will help us. We are hopeful that Malawi will eventually drop.”
According to the report, 40 of the 50 countries with the highest road-death rates across all ages are in Africa. Thailand has been named to have the highest road accidents, and in Africa, Liberia, Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.