Make a comprehensive and qualitative assessment of Zambia’s performance in road safety management, in comparison to the Key Tents of the ideal road safety management framework.


STUDENT #: LS 12857


Zambia is a landlocked country situated in Central Southern Africa covering 732 614 square kilometers. It has a population of approximately 13 million with an annual growth rate of 3.5%. The country is well endowed with natural resources including land, water, minerals, and wildlife, and energy resources among others. The major economic activity and source of revenue is mining with copper being regarded as the number one. Other sources of revenue include; cobalt, tobacco, and non-traditional exports such as flowers.

The Geography positioning of Zambia provides an opportunity for the country to contribute to an efficient transport connection at the regional level. In 2002 the Government of the Republic of Zambia developed the first-ever National Transport Policy; this was in recognition of the important role the transport sector plays in the national economy and the process of regional integration. The introduction of the National Transport Policy saw the Road sub-sector undergone a number of structural reforms over the years, among the most prominent are the creation of three institutions, namely, the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) which deals with Regulations and Safety enforcement, the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA), which deals with Resource mobilization and disbursement, and the Road Development Agency (RDA), responsible for Road rehabilitation, maintenance, and construction.

The primary aim of such a setup was to ensure the separation of functions to facilitate specialization, which in turn leads to efficiency and effectiveness in road sector management.

The main aim of this paper is to make a comprehensive and qualitative assessment of Zambia’s performance in Road Safety Management in comparison to the key tents of the ideal Road Safety Framework. It will further highlight some of the challenges that the process of implementing Road Safety Programmes faces and also provide recommendations on how Zambia’s road safety management can best be improved in order to reduce road traffic accidents.


In Zambia, Road Safety Management System is managed the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), an institution which was formulated under the Road Traffic Act (Act No. 11 of 2002). This institution operates under the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications as one of the institution the Ministry delegates its responsibility of managing the transport systems in the country. Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA is headed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who is supposed to be appointed by the Board of Directors but in actual sense is a political appointee. The Board of Directors are appointed by the Minister of of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications from various stakeholder partners institutions. The office of the the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is supported by the Deputy Director in charge of Transport, the Deputy Director in charge of Safety and Head in charge of Finance and Human Resource and the following constitutes the responsibilities of these officers;


Under this wing, there are a number of functions which include the following:

  1. a)  Motor Vehicle Registration headed by the Principal Officer – Registration
  2. b)  Motor Vehicle Licensing headed by the Principal Officer – Licensing
  3. c)  Motor vehicle Examination headed by the Principal – Examinations for road worthiness
  4. d)  Driving Examinations headed by the Principal – Driving Tests for drivers
  5. e)  Statistics and Data collection headed by the Statistician


Under this wing, there are a number of functions which include the following:

  • Management of all I C T services in the Agency
  • All Accounting services
  • All Legal matters
  • All matters of Procurement res
  • All matters concerning Human Resource Management DEPUTY DIRECTOR – SAFETY DEPARTMENT Under this wing, there are a number of functions which include the following:
  • All issues to do with education and awareness programs
  • All engineering matters
  • All enforcement matters
  • All Public relations issues The Road Transport and Safety Agency (RATSA) has made significant strides in developing and managing the Road Safety Management System in Zambia, however, much more is required to ensure that it is transformed into the ideal Road Safety Management System that can effectively and efficiently address the safety concerns of the Zambian Citizens. The agency has been trying to manage its role as the lead agency; however, continuous political interference has led to the agency failing to achieve some of its expected results, furthermore the institution’s luck of adequate financial capacity, human resource and equipment are greatly affected its operation. Some of the most impacting problems include the following;


Out of the four (4) sections, only one section (law enforcement has its presence at provincial level. The rest of the sections i.e. Education, Engineering and Publicity are poorly equipped in terms of manpower. These officers are only found in Lusaka and are very few in number. The development makes it very difficult for programmes under this wing to be undertaken. Mobilization of staff for these activities is usually done using officers from the Transport wing who may also be committed with other pressing duties at times.


The arrangement hinders the organization of programmes that are supposed to cover the whole country such as education, publicity and regular inspection of driving schools at provincial and district levels. The arrangement leads to a compromise on the safety levels of education being offered by the driving schools as infrastructure and equipment being used for teaching is not inspected to determine compliance to the road safety education syllabus.


Coordination with the stakeholders is very important at all levels of the institution. This makes it easy for a number of programmes to be undertaken effectively and efficiently. If there is no commitment from the national road safety council at all levels which include provincial and district level to push for these programmes, the stakeholders may not be willing enough to undertake or sponsor these programmes. As a result, dissemination of information regarding road traffic safety management programmes may be made difficult or not even possible.


When programmes or projects are being undertaken, there is need for them to be monitored and evaluated to see if they are being done in the right way and on schedule. This requires a well- coordinated and equipped team of professionals that will be undertaking such activities on regular basis. Unfortunately, this is not the case currently obtaining at Road Transport and Safety Agency under which the safety wing falls. This poses a danger of not knowing whether projects are being undertaken at the right time, in the right way, using the right procedures. There is also a danger of not knowing whether there is abuse of resources such as financial or not. Lack of this well-coordinated Monitoring and Evaluation team may end up demotivating the stakeholders and would be stakeholders who may in turn stop providing the much needed support.


Under the current structure, the person in charge of the Safety wing (Deputy Director – Safety) reports to the Chief Executive Officer, Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA). This limits the extent to which decisions can be made and implemented by the Deputy Director as he has to seek authority from the C. E. O. every time a decision has to be made or projects implemented. This means decision making is actually centralized as authority can only be approved by the topmost head. There is also a likelihood that political influence (negative) can play apart where there may be preference regarding where certain projects can take place.


Inadequate funding to the project has been noted to be one of the challenges that is affecting the smooth operations of the road transport safety wing under RTSA. During research at RTSA Headquarters, it was noted that funding to the safety department comes through the mother body which is RTSA. This allocation is then divided according to the importance of the projects to be undertaken. This scenario is not conducive for the safety department as most of the projects are left unattended to due lack of financial resources.


It is from the statistics office that information the road carnage can be obtained. In the Zambian case, this office is only in Lusaka. This means that data collection in far flung areas is a serious challenge as some of the areas where these accidents occur are likely not to be reached. It also means that communication with the Zambia Police at both regional and district level is no there. This entails therefore that the road safety wing may not know what the most likely cause of the increase in road carnage is especially in areas far from Lusaka.


According the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention, fatal and long term crash injury is largely predictable, largely avoidable and a problem amenable to rational analysis and remedy. This argument is drawn from researches and experience from North America, Australasia and Europe that have shown that very substantial reductions in road deaths and serious injuries have been achieved through the application of evidence-based measures against the background of increased motorization and the first stage is the development of an effective and efficient Road Safety Management System. It very clear that the cost of fatalities and serious accidents has become the responsibility of the Government and agencies involved in road traffic management and the implication are not only significant in human cost but there are also serious financial costs involved but governments worldwide continue to lose a lot of tax payers’ money due to the same problem. An effective and efficient road safety management system can therefore provide a framework of identifying and managing safety risks and therefore reduce the same of crashes significantly.

Arising from the foregone conclusion, it is evident that Zambia through the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) need to adopted and efficient and effective Road Safety Management System which can help address the challenges that the road transport sector is facing of increased road traffic accidents. Such an ideal Road Safety Management System should be able to place an emphasis on the production of road safety and recognizes that safety is produced just like other goods and services. According to Bliss, T. (2004) Road Safety management Systems should be viewed as a production process with a number of elements namely (i) Institutional Management Functions which produce (ii) Interventions, which in turn produces (iii) Results. When developing a Road Safety Management it is important to consider all these elements and the linkages between, it is critical for any country seeking to identify and improve its current performance levels of the road safety system to take them into consideration. More specifically, assessing and strengthening country capacity in terms of these elements and their linkages is critical to the successful implementation of the countries Road Safety Strategic Plan.


The seven (8) Institutional Management functions provide the foundation on which an ideal Road Safety Management Systems must be built as it produces the interventions to achieve the desired long and medium-term road safety results which have been agreed across the road safety partnership at global levels. Without an effective institutional management, a country like Zambia has little chance of implementing successful road safety interventions and later on achieving desired results on a sustainable basis. They are essential for the production of interventions which, in turn, achieve road safety results and for this reason they must receive the highest priority in road safety planning and policy initiatives. The institutional management functions relate to all government, civil society and business entities that produce interventions and ultimately results

  1. a)  Results focus in its ultimate expression concerns a strategic orientation that links all actual and potential interventions with results, analyses what can be achieved over time, and sets out a performance management framework for the delivery of interventions and their intermediate and final outcomes. It defines the level of safety which a country wishes to achieve expressed in terms of vision, goals, objectives and related targets.
  2. b)  Coordination concerns the orchestration and alignment of the interventions and other related institutional management functions delivered by government partners and related community and business partnerships to achieve the desired focus on results.
  3. c)  Legislation (where necessary) concerns the appropriate legal instruments which specify the legitimate bounds of institutions, their responsibilities and accountabilities, their interventions and their related institutional management functions to achieve the desired focus on results.
  4. d)  Funding and resource allocation concerns the financing of interventions and related institutional management functions on a sustainable basis using a rational evaluation and programming framework to allocate resources to achieve the desired focus on results.


  1. e)  Promotion concerns the countrywide and sustained communication of road safety as a core business for Government and society, emphasising the shared societal responsibility to support the delivery of the interventions required to achieve the desired results.
  2. f)  Monitoring and evaluation concerns the systematic and ongoing measurement and evaluation of interventions in terms of achieving the desired road safety outputs and outcomes (results).
  3. g)  Research and development and knowledge transfer concerns the systematic and on-going creation, codification, transfer and application of knowledge that contributes to the improved efficiency and effectiveness of the road safety management system to achieve the desired focus on results.


An ideal Road Safety Management Systems must have clear interventions which basically comprise of system-wide strategies and programmes to address safety targets. Interventions can include the planning, design and operation of the road network, the entry and exit of vehicles, and users into the road network, and the recovery and rehabilitation of crash victims. This will also consider the management of exposure to the risk of crashes, prevent crashes, and reduce crash injury severity and the consequences of crash injury though safety designs, standards, and rules and well as a combination of activity to secure compliance with these such as information, publicity, enforcement and incentive.


In good and practical Road Safety Management Systems, results are expressed in the form of long-term goals and interim quantitative targets. Targets specify and the desired safety performance endorsed by governments at all levels, stakeholders, and the community. To be credible, interim targets must be achievable with cost-effective interventions. A country’s results focus can be interpreted as a pragmatic specification of its ambition to improve road safety and the means agreed to achieve this ambition. In the absence of a clear and accountable focus on results, all other institutional functions and related interventions lack cohesion and direction and the efficiency and effectiveness of safety initiatives can be undermined.


The operationalization of any Road Safety Management System would require identifying a lead agency in the government to guide the National Road Safety efforts, with the power to make decisions, manage resources and coordinate the efforts of all participating stakeholders. The Lead Agency must however understand that road safety management is a multi-sectoral responsibility with government institutions taking the lead, while civil society and business institutions also share road safety responsibilities. The multi-sectoral nature of road safety management would, therefore, require strong leadership by the lead agency to avoid misdirection, it is for this reason that this role is mostly played by a lead governmental agency like the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) in Zambia.

The lead agency should take responsibility within the government for the development of the national road safety strategy and its results focus and the overall institutional management function. It usually must also take responsibility for coordination at inter-governmental, national, regional, and local activities. Other roles would include ensuring a comprehensive legislative framework; securing sustainable sources of funding and creating a rational framework for resource allocation; high-level promotion of road safety strategy across government and society; periodic monitoring and evaluation of road safety performance


The ideal Road Safety Management System would ensure that all the necessary stakeholders are brought on board to allow for sharing of responsibility in the road safety management, key among the stakeholders are;

The main functions of the local government towards improving road safety include functions such as the maintenance of the regional or local roads and streets, road markings and signs, road traffic control signals or traffic control lights, and managing congestion through the allocation of parking slots in towns and cities. They also help in the planning of traffic for the present and future generations by creating or constructing new roads in form of bypasses or diversions.

All provisions of funding for the implementation of programmes under road safety come from the Government through the Ministry of Finance. There may be instances though where the donor agencies may come in to fund certain projects or programmes. It is therefore important for the National Road Safety Council to work hand in hand with the Ministry of Finance when planning and budgeting for the programmes under the road safety management framework. These programmes may include education, law enforcement, advertising (publicity) as well as data collection and processing.MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
The National Road Safety Council works with the Ministry of Education to ensure that all programmes regarding road safety are included in their curriculum. This has to start from the Nursery schools up to the Higher learning institutions. In some instances programmes such as inter schools debates on road safety are encouraged. Through such programmes, pupils grow with the full knowledge of road safety rules, regulations and requirements. Children end up becoming responsible citizens and may even end up transferring the same knowledge to the younger generations.MINISTRY OF HEALTH
To ensure that motor vehicle are driven by healthy persons, medical tests have to be conducted by the right authorities. This is done through the Medical personnel such as doctors from the Ministry of Health, or indeed any other authorized medical institution that has been authorized by the Ministry of Health. Medical certificates are then issued to those that pass the tests. These certificates are then presented to the examining authorities as evidence of their physical fitness. This procedure usually serves as one of the requirements for a candidate to be examined for driving tests.

One of the functions of the National Road Safety council is Law Enforcement. In order for this exercise to be conducted effectively and efficiently, the National Road Safety

Council Must work in collaboration with the National and Regional Police to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations regarding road safety. The Police will help mount roadblocks as well as highway patrols. They also help provide security during such operations. By so doing, the shortage of manpower is never really felt by the road safety council. Data collection and processing is also done at the police traffic section. This information can also be obtained by the statistician for future use. They also maintain a high level of expertise in crash/ casualty reporting as well as focusing on high-risk behaviors and use casualty and crash data to identify locations and where police enforcement could minimize such unsafe behaviors.

    Any person who intends to start driving a motor vehicle must go through a driving school. Here apart from learning how to drive a motor vehicle, students are taught the rules of the road. In practice, they are basically taught about the three main elements of the road namely human, vehicle, and the environment. Driving schools have to teach using the approved syllabus. Motor vehicles that are used for teaching are tested and certified for such activities. The same applies to instructors. Licenses are then issued to these driving schools after meeting the necessary conditions. Periodical inspection of these driving schools is done to ensure compliance all the time.
    This is a unit that is usually there to try and serve human life and goods immediately after the accident. It is supposed to be made up of coordinated and well-qualified personnel from different backgrounds or institutions. They are usually well equipped with the necessary equipment and motor vehicles for quick response to distress situations such as road traffic accidents. Apart from saving lives, they also offer counselling to traumatized people after the accident (post-crash counselling). Usually, the unit is nongovernmental and sponsored by the donor agencies such as St. Johns Ambulance Services.


These are also spread throughout the country. They help the National Road Safety Council in various ways which include provision transport, sensitization of the motor vehicle operators as well as pedestrians on the best practices on the road and provision of data or statistics on the road accidents or indeed any other field of interest so as to improve road safety.

In a well-coordinated national road safety framework, the system is supposed to include the media. This includes both print and electronic media. This helps to disseminate information regarding best practices on the roads. It may also include publicizing pictures of some road crashes to create awareness and the need for drivers to observe the road traffic rules and regulations. The media also helps to host programs on road safety such as inter-school debates as a way of creating awareness and sensitization. Sometimes these media houses host these shows at no cost to the National Road Safety Council as a way of paying back to the community in form of corporate social responsibility. Other responsibilities include the following:

  • Enhance community awareness and understanding of the causal factors and real costs of road crashes as a way of showing corporate social responsibility (private media).
  • Support road safety initiatives through responsible and objective reporting.
  • Influence societal changes which lead to a reduction in unacceptable driver behavior and poor attitudes. 10. THE ENGINEERS (ROAD CONSTRUCTION) Engineers help in the design of the road before construction to ensure certain safety standards are met or adhered to. These may include road curves, erection of guard rails at the curves, and provide pedestrian and cycle tracks where possible. In towns and cities, they may also be involved in the construction of speed humps and depressions to slow the movement of vehicles in restricted areas such as schools. 11. INSURANCE INDUSTRY

• Assist in the development, sponsorship, and funding, of crash prevention programs.

• Provide premium incentives as a means of encouraging and rewarding safer driver and other road user behavior.

• Provide feedback to government and regenerative crash trends and outcomes to assist in the further development of road safety policy.


Monitoring and evaluation completes the ideal road safety management system loop as it comprises systematic performance of all the elements of the road safety management system. This will require the establishment or supporting a range of data systems to set and monitor final and intermediate outcome and output targets. It will also mean conducting transparent reviews of the national road safety strategy and its performance along the dimensions of results, interventions and institutional management functions and subsequently making necessary adjustments to interventions and institutional outputs so as to achieve the desired results.


The development of an effective and efficient Road Safety Management can help address the current safety concerns that the institutions charged with such duties in the country have, further support from the political leaders need to be shown and such a system can only be developed and subsequently implemented if the powers that be show willing to support the system by giving the lead agency the much required independence. Once this is done and all the relevant stakeholders brought together, it is expected that road traffic crushes can drastically reduce and safety on the road increased.


1. Bliss, T. (2004) Implementing the Recommendations of the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention. transport Note No. TN-1, the World Bank, Washington DC


  2. Koornstra M, et al. (2002). SUNflower: a comparative study of the development of road safety in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. SWOV, Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research, Leidschendam.
  3. Land Transport Safety Authority (2000) Safety Directions, predicting and costing road safety outcomes Working Paper 6, Wellington, New Zealand
  4. Land Transport Safety Authority (2000). Road Safety Strategy 2010: A Consultation Document. National Road Safety Committee, Land Transport Safety Authority, Wellington.
  5. Wegman F (2001). Transport safety performance indicators. Brussels, European Transport Safety Council.
August 5, 2021
Gideon Robert University © 2022. All rights reserved.
error: Content is protected !!

Parent Login

Student Login