Why driving schools pertinent for all road stakeholders

AS it is the case for vehicle operators, livestock keepers are also supposed to go to driving school, to have knowledge over road safety issues. In other words, the herds persons must be aware of all road signs, be it informative, order or warning, for proper control of the herds whenever approaching the road.

Most importantly, she/he must be very much concerned with animals’ road cross signs, for their and other road users’ protection.

“The person should also be aware of road or river long bank signs as the banks could be deep, hence negatively affecting the animals,” Director for the Mwanza-based Nyota Driving School Mr Laban Ochola, told the ‘Daily News’, recently.

Unfortunately, he added, majority animals’ keepers have no idea when road safety issues come in. To fill the gap, Nyota Driving School in collaboration with the Police Force have been conducting the outreach programmes for public education to various gatherings, be they public rallies, learning institutions, worshipping houses and bus stands, among others.

School children are the most targeted group, as they sometimes become livestock keepers, especially during holidays.

They therefore have a chance to disseminate road safety knowledge to other members of the community. The children are taught on how to let animals cross the road at the designated areas, where animals’ safety is fully guaranteed.

In case the sign isn’t around, the animal keeper must have a red and blue coloured piece of clothes, waiving the former to let the motorists give the room for cattle crossing. The latter is to be waived after the cattle have crossed the road, to let the vehicles move on.

If the herd is large, there should be three keepers, with the two being in front of cattle and one behind it, for proper management when crossing the road.

Mwanza Regional Police Public Education In-Charge Mr Charles Munthal, supported the move, saying that like any motorist, animal keepers should go to driving school so as to avoid any possible legal punishment when violating road safety rules.

The punishments differ in line with how serious the offence is, and no compensation could be issued in case of cattle death at the wrong road cross area. Again, he added, like drivers, livestock keepers must strictly avoid alcohol consumption, for proper control of the livestock to avoid road crashes.

Again, livestock keepers should be in the reflector all the time, but most importantly when the animals are not in cowshed at the recommended time, 06:00 pm, for his/her visibility to other road users in the dark.

“The same is applied to those who take out the cattle at dawn, when it is still dark,” he said.

The Desk -In-Charge stressed that whoever owns any type of animal, including horse must attend driving school, for road safety education. It was further noted that out-reach programmes are also for motorcyclists, commonly known as ‘bodaboda’, as they usually conduct the ‘business as usual’, with no idea of road safety rules.

“They skip driving schools,” he said, explaining further that through their camps, bodaboda operators have to attend a-two- week training session since the majority are already drivers, missing only road signs knowledge and driving licence. The session involves both theory and practical training, before the license issuance to those who qualify. He affirmed the endless education to bodaboda, given the fact that the camps have newcomers every day, with some people getting in business as part time jobs.

“Even public employers, like teachers, are part of it after their working hours. They lack an idea on road safety issues because they have no time to attend driving school,” he said.

He made the call for motorcyclists to stop running away whenever they meet the police officers, as a move triggers the road crushes.

The Force punishes nobody, assured Mr Munthal, but offers public education instead, for broad understanding of road safety rules and laws. He at the same time urged bodaboda clients to avoid commanding the motorcyclists to speed up, under the ground that they are in hurry, a step that violates road safety rules, hence, uncontrollable road accidents.

According to Police observation, bodaboda clients become too commanding at traffic lights and zebra crossings, which are prone areas to accidents. “In general, every driver must attend the school to have not only the road signs education, but also proper management of the vehicle.

A good driver is the one who understands that taking care of her/himself and other road users is her/his main responsibility,” he said, stressing that: The good driver is the one who completely obeys safety laws and rules. Most importantly, the driver must have the knowledge on how to inspect the vehicle before gets on roads, to ensure everything is safely and properly operating.

In March of this year, Prime Minister Mr Kassim Majaliwa, graced the Road Safety Week in Mwanza Region, issuing some directives to relevant authorities in an effort to reduce the number of road crashes.

Among the directive was intensive public education to all road users, as the number of fatalities and injuries was alarming in the country. He revealed that there were about 5,132 road accidents in the period of the past three years (2020 to 2022), causing 4,060 deaths and 6,427 injuries.

Absence of two drivers for long trip buses seemed to be part of the causes, said the PM while directing the authority to make sure every bus has more than one operator. The PM at the same time urged the citizens to adhere to road safety rules and regulations, since the number of fatalities and injuries was so high. The general public must stop some cultures like abandoning defective vehicles on roads with no breakdown signs, a move that leads to road crashes.

“People should also avoid leaving children unsupervised on roads, with every one being providing information about drivers who violate traffic rules and regulations,” he insisted.

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