HARARE – Zimbabwe is considering introducing the penalty points system as part of measures to rein in negligent driving and put a stop to a road carnage hitting 150 deaths a month.

The introduction of the points system was mentioned by Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe managing director, Munesu Munodawafa during a Friday panel discussion that brought together the police, represented by Commissioner Paul Nyathi and Zimbabwe Passenger Transport Organisation (ZPTO) chairperson Samson Nhanhanga.

“Normally if all was well, we would not expect such a system to be put in place,” Munodawafa said.

“Our statistical analysis shows that about 94 percent of the accidents in Zimbabwe are attributable to human error, so the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Felix Mhona, has said let us encourage the human being, perhaps through this measure, to behave in a positive way.”

Zimbabwe records five deaths from road traffic accidents daily, translating to 150 fatalities per month, according to official statistics.

This makes the country’s roads one of the deadliest in the world.

Coupled with a near dysfunctional health delivery system, the need to curtail the high incidence of road traffic accidents is even more imperative.

Monodawafa said the envisaged points system has been prompted by the high number of road traffic accidents in the country.

“What has been happening is that the issue of accidents is recent and has taken centre stage, which has prompted the government to look for measures that will restore the quality of drivers Zimbabwe once had,” he said.

At present, those found guilty of the less major traffic offences simply pay a fine and face no further action.

The penalty points system can lead to automatic suspension or revocation of a driving licence when the total reaches the limit.

It is effectively practised in the United Kingdom where penalty points are added on one’s driving licence if one commits a traffic offence on public roads.

In the UK, different offences carry different penalties and if you collect a stipulated amount of points over a specific time period, it can result in a driving ban.

Points are applied to driving licences as a way of preventing dangerous drivers from using the roads.

If your licence builds up more than 12 penalty points, then you can be disqualified from driving for up to three years.

Under the British system, penalty points stay attached to one’s driving licence for either four or 11 years, depending on the offence.

The penalty system also influences the amounts a driver is charged by insurance companies in the UK, with generally dangerous drivers required to pay more.