The Roads and Road traffic laws in Zambia: Deterent, cause or contributor to the road carnage in Zambia

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Chilufya, Alex M.
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The subject of Roads and Road Traffic is becoming increasingly important in a rapidly urbanising society that Zambia is, and it is no less sensitive than the issue of state security. To both issues the protection of human life is of cardinal importance; and this through seeking means and ways of securing the life of individuals from bodily injury and/or death induced by external forces or factors beyond the control of an individual and by an individual's own contributing circumstances. It goes without saying that the high frequency of road accidents in Zambia, engendering physical disability and death for the accident victims, goes to show the amount of destruction that can be caused to both human life and property, if the prevailing trend in roads and road traffic law and practice dragged on unchecked.It is the high incidence of road accidents prevalent on Zambian roads today and the many lives lost in consequence thereof, that have prompted us to address ourselves to the discussion of the Law and practice relating to roads and road traffic as contained in Chapter 766 of the Laws of Zambia, and enforceability of the same. Our primary and chief concern in this whole exercise would be to analytically examine the law of the roads and road traffic on its general plane as it stands to date. This shall be done in the first chapter of this paper. The fact that there are presently numerous cases of road traffic accidents in the country is a clear testimony of traffic law violation, apparently all out of proportion, irrespective of what factors are at play. Hence we are moved to consider what the various provisions of the law, viz Cap 766, state about certain practices regarded as traffic offences or, what amounts to the same thing, violations of the Highway Code and, in the same vein, examine the nature of the prescribed pernalty/ies for certain offences that will be deliberately picked out and cited as illustrative instances. Having done this, we then hope to invoke the practical realities confronting the law in this regard thus see whether or not it is in keeping with the current pace of change in socio-economic, cultural and technological development of the Zambian society.Further, we shall endeavour to scrutinise the legal machinery available for the enforcement of the roads and road traffic law. This in part will constitute Chapter two of the present paper, in which chapter we intend to look at the Traffic Police of the Zambia Police Force. The whole purpose in this part of the exercise will be to try to show the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness, of the particular methods employed by the police in detecting road traffic offences so as to ensure strict compliance with the Law at all times by all those subject to it. In compendium, therefore, we wish to demonstrate the practical relevance of the roads and road traffic law in its present context, and how the police are coping with the task of enforcing this law.Lastly, our next area of survey in this discourse should involve a bit of reflections on the Roads and Road Traffic Board (under the Ministry of Power, Transport and Communication), as one of the roads and road traffic law enforcement agencies, infact the vanguard agency in this respect. Here the whole idea is to see how the Board influences the law and practice of roads and road traffic. And also an appreciation of the constraints frustrating the realisation of the Board's work will be made. This part will of itself form the third chapter.At the end of the day we hope to bring out the strengths and weaknesses in the law on roads and road traffic, as well evince the impediments that exist to its full and fervent realisation. The concluding tone should necessarily carry the present authour's views as to how the law ought to be. This then is the final and closing part of the paper: the fourth chapter.
Traffic regulations-Zambia , Automobiles-law and legislation-Zambia , Transportation, Automotive-law and legislation-Zambia