COMMUTER omnibus operators who hire underage drivers risk having their operators’ licences cancelled, police have said.
This comes after an increase in fatal accidents involving public transport vehicles driven by people under the mandated age of 25 years.
Such drivers violate Statutory Instrument 168 of 2006, which states that a driver of a public transport vehicle should at least be 25 years old.
In an interview yesterday, Bulawayo’s acting police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Bekimpilo Ndlovu, said police would not hesitate to recommend that the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development cancel offending operators’ permits.
“It is the duty of the owner of the vehicle to ensure that his car is driven by someone who is of the correct age and has at least a Class Two Driver’s licence. If the owner abdicates his duty, and the driver is caught, we will not hesitate to recommend cancellation of their operators’ permits.”
He said kombi owners who hire underage drivers, do so in contravention of one of the conditions under which they are issued with operators’ permits.
“The condition is that they should adhere to all traffic laws. They breach the age specification once they hire drivers who are below 25 years of age,” said Asst Insp Ndlovu.
He said police are closely monitoring kombis on Bulawayo’s roads to weed out underage drivers.
Asst Insp Ndlovu said there was a new brand of Toyota Hiace that was capable of incredible speeds and young drivers often raced while carrying passengers in order to get more passengers.
“A mature person would consider the lives of the people in his car over profit.
“These young ones are disrespectful to passengers and do not want to see another driver getting passengers ahead of them on the road.
“As a result they speed and it then becomes difficult for them to control their vehicles when an unexpected obstacle pops into their path,” Asst Insp Ndlovu said.
On Tuesday, this paper carried the story of 22-year-old Milton Chisa who had his driver’s licence cancelled by the courts after he fled from police at a roadblock.
The court ordered him to surrender his driver’s licence so that it could be forwarded to the Central Vehicle Registry for cancellation.
He was apprehended after a senior police officer gave chase to the public transport vehicle he was driving.- Herald Reporter