New Regulations to Raise Minimum Age for Public Service Drivers to 30

Flelix Mhona
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HARARE – In a bid to combat the rising number of traffic accidents and fatalities attributed to reckless driving, the government plans to raise the minimum age for all public service drivers to 30 years.

This move, according to the state media, The Herald aims to ensure that only mature and experienced drivers are behind the wheel of buses and kombis.

With over 2,000 road traffic accident-related deaths annually, largely due to negligent driving, the government hopes this new regulation will reduce these alarming statistics. The current minimum age for public service drivers is 25, but the government is advocating for an increase to align with standards in the SADC region.

Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Felix Mhona announced the proposed change during a Senate Question and Answer session last Thursday.

“Our legal department is working with the Attorney General to synchronize the age limit for public service vehicle drivers,” said Mhona. “We are advocating for an increase to 30 years to address the overzealousness of some drivers.”

The minister highlighted the financial and social impact of traffic accidents, noting that the country loses close to US$406 million annually due to fatalities, injuries, and hospitalizations. “We cannot sustain the loss of nearly five lives per day,” he added.

Commuters have expressed support for the proposal. Mr. Ashwin Chigombe from Hopley, Harare, said, “Government should expedite this welcome development. Some of these young bus drivers are reckless, treating public service vehicles like sports cars.” Ms. Molleen Muzekezeke of Glen View 7 also supported the initiative, stating that most public service drivers under 25 often disregard passenger safety.

Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators (GHACO) chairman, Mr. Ngoni Katsvairo, emphasized the importance of experience and maturity in driving, comparing it to the constitutional requirement that presidential candidates be at least 40 years old.

However, not all industry stakeholders agree. Zimbabwe Union of Drivers and Conductors (ZUDCO) president, Fradreck Maguramhinga, pointed out the scarcity of drivers over 25. “We understand the need for mature drivers, but we have many responsible drivers between 25 and 30 years old,” he said.

“We propose maintaining the 25-year age limit for smaller public service vehicles, as older drivers often prefer heavy-duty trucks and buses.”

The proposal now awaits further legislative approval and public consultation before it can be enacted.