Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
Government has upgraded the Highway Code as part of a new road traffic system in line with a Sadc protocol to harmonise regional road infrastructure and signage.
The new Highway Code is set to introduce Sadc road traffic signs and dual markings.
In an interview, Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) spokesperson Mr Ernest Muchena said the updated Highway Code, to be launched on April 6 in the city by Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo, was aimed at taming road carnage.
He said the new code, which is at its final stages, would replace the old Highway Code developed in early 1970s.
“We decided to come up with a new Highway Code so that our drivers are better equipped on the roads and in this new Highway Code, we are working on the rules and regulations,” said Mr Muchena.
“Sadc countries agreed that it would be better to have uniform signage in the region, as we acknowledge the fact that there are a lot of people who do enter the country driving. Since Zimbabwe is a signatory, we also accepted that we will adopt the same signage.”
Mr Muchena said the TSCZ was mandated by the Traffic Safety Council Act Chapter 13:17 to publish the Highway Code and that there were additions in the new code.
He said the country officially adopted the new road signs on April 8 last year.
“Sadc signs are more pictorial than the use of words and as a country, we also aim to reduce road carnage in the country, region and even internationally since we are in the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, which is aimed at reducing road carnage by 50 percent,” he said.
Mr Muchena said in 2014, the TSCZ set up a Highway Code upgrading committee, which included members from the police, Vehicle Inspection Department, CMED, defensive driving experts, driving school instructors, emergency services, local authorities, Central Vehicle Registry, Insurance Council of Zimbabwe and commuter omnibus operators.
“In the upgraded version, we have specific rules for different road users and these include pedestrians, pedal cyclists and drivers of heavy vehicles,” he said.
“There is information for each road user, including animal drawn vehicles, so that people understand.”
Carriage markings are also to be redesigned to match those in other countries in the region.
A notable inclusion in the new Highway Code is the four-way stop system. It is said to be safer than traditional stop signs or signal-controlled intersections.
A four-way stop, also known as an all-way stop, is an intersection system where traffic approaching from any direction is required to stop at all times before proceeding through the intersection.
The first motorist to arrive at the intersection is the first to move.
Four-way stop signs are widely used in countries such as the United States, Canada, Sweden, South Africa and Namibia.