- Lesotho is introducing a defensive driving learners’ orientated training as a way of riding the country of road fatalities.
The country’s Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ts'ele Chakela launched the new system for driver training and examination for driving schools and examiners yesterday, saying that it would enhance road safety for both vehicle users and pedestrians.
This is the first drivers’ training system and manual for Lesotho as in the past it depended on manual created in its only neighbour, South Africa.
The launch also coincided with the graduation of 101 instructors and examiners countrywide who have undergone training since it was launched in February this year.
With the land coverage of just 33,000 square kilometres, made up of mainly rough rugged terrain, driver training in Lesotho has long been thought to need specialised and defensive components in it.
Many of the country’s roads wind through the mountains well above 1500 metres above sea level with steeps and curves dangerously making most parts of the mountain roads.
Mr Chakela said it was through defensive driving that motorists would be able to negotiate these roads well and keep lives safe, while also urging all drivers’ training institutions to put to use the new system well.
The new training system which will be put to force starting next month, is also expected to bring a halt to short-cut licensing tendencies said to be rife in the Lesotho system. As alluded to by many of the traffic and road officials, many of the accidents in the country, were either a result of negligence or sometimes lack of knowledge on the part of motorists.
The system which has been introduced in Lesotho through a support consultancy team from Sweden, is already being implemented in other regional states such as Botswana and Namibia.
Apart from driving skills and road traffic laws, drivers trained in the new system are also expected to take a course on first aid as well as fire fighting, amongst others.
Some 300 people are said to be dying on the Lesotho roads every year, with thousands more others sustaining different injuries.
Road accidents in Lesotho are also affecting each and every citizen, with the former Lesotho King, Moshoeshoe II also having perished on the mountain road accident in 1996. Several other senior government officials have also died in road accidents.
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