Eye screening must for drivers’

POOR eye screening in the issuance of drivers’ licences has contributed to high road carnage in Zambia, says Optometrist and contact lens consultant Frank Mwangana.

He said many people have been issued with drivers licences without undergoing serious medical tests especially eye sight checks which were important in driving.

Mr Mwangana said most Zambian drivers were unaware of their vision ability, which consequently affected their driving ability to see beyond the vehicle.

“All these accidents happening around the country could be because most drivers on our roads have not had their vision tested, and they have no idea that they have eye sight problems.

“Sight is supposed to be spontaneous. You do not need to struggle to see, it should come naturally as you walk or drive, but some drivers are taken by surprise that someone has cut in on them because they were unable to see clearly,” he said.

Mr Mwangana said most drivers on Zambian roads did not take the eye test when acquiring their licences, while some used fake licences or documents to obtain the permit.

The optometrist said there was very little attention given to ascertain the quality of eyesight of public service drivers, and demanded retesting for all drivers to include vision certification as a prerequisite to renewal of a licence.

According to the Zambian Road Safety Trust (ZRST) report, over 50 percent of drivers on the roads either do not have licenses or hold illegally obtained licences thus endangering innocent lives.

Dr Mwangana said the high road carnage on Zambian roads could be attributed to poor eye sights of the drivers as a result of lack of proper screening during the issuance process. He challenged the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) to overhaul the licensing process by ensuring all drivers undertook intensive vision tests to ascertain their eye sight before acquiring a drivers’ licence.

Over 2000 people die each year in Zambia in road traffic crashes, while thousands more suffer various injuries as a result of road carnage.

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