2-year period to obtain public licence not good'
NHLANGANO - Public transport operators from Nhlangano have raised concern over the two-year period that is a prerequisite for prospective drivers to get a public driving permit.
They feel this has contributed, to a certain extent, to the number of accidents on the country’s roads, especially those involving public transport, as some drivers never get experience before they are entrusted with transporting the public.
They were speaking during a Road Safety Stakeholder Alliance workshop held at the Nhlangano Magistrates court this week. The workshop is part of an ongoing series that is currently taking place around the country and is sponsored by Swaziland Beverages, Sincephetelo Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and the Road Safety Council.
The public transport operators said requiring a driver to wait for two years before he can be given a public permit was more detrimental to the lives of people; whereas if they were given the public driving permit immediately after coming out of driving school, they would have a chance to learn first-hand what it is to drive people around.
"As it is, these drivers are made to wait two years after getting their licences and most of the times never drive any vehicle within that period, which leads to a number of accidents as they neither remember the road signs, nor how to stop at a stop sign," said an operator identified as Ndlang-amandla.
He claimed to have recently lost his truck after a driver, who had not driven any vehicle in two years but had the required licence, plunged it into the Mkhondvo River.
He believed that had his driver been fresh from driving school, he would have driven with much caution.
Ndlangamandla recommended that, as a requirement for getting a public driving permit, police should let prospective public transport operators drive around in their presence to ensure that they, at least, remember how to drive and diligently observe road signs.
Lusito Dlamini, Senior Vehicle Inspector noted the concerns and further advised the operators to raise such issues with their associations, who would then lobby the relevant stakeholders to amend the legislation.
Dlamini said, at present, the law required that they look for certain distinctive qualities before a driver is issued with a public permit. These include whether that driver is of good character and is conversant, among other qualities.
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