MASERU — The Road Safety Department says it will today launch a new driver training and examination system in an effort to reduce fatalities on the country’s roads.
The principal instructor in the department, Neo Khoaele, said the department will introduce a new syllabus to train the country’s drivers.
Lesotho did not have its own syllabus to train drivers.
Driving school instructors had until now relied on syllabuses that are in use in neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana.
“There has never been a course outline for driving instructors to follow. They used various systems from other countries.
“This will come to an end now that we have our own system for all the instructors to use countrywide,” Khoaele said.
Khoaele said the department had trained about a hundred instructors and 22 examiners on the use of the new drivers’ training manual.
“Instructors and examiners have trained on the new system. They will be awarded certificates for undergoing the training,” she said.
Khoaele said under the new system, learner drivers will go through six chapters of the training manual before they are awarded driving licences.
“In the first two chapters they will learn the theory of driving. It is the introduction. They are told what they should expect when they enter into a car; the parts and what they are used for and how or when to use them.
“Chapter three is a practical course. They will be expected to drive on the exercise ground to learn how to control a car.
“In chapter five trainees will then practise on the public roads where they are expected to apply skills they had learnt in the first four chapters.
“In chapter six, learners will be taught the road signs and their meanings, how to apply first aid, fire extinguishers and others.”
At the end of the training period, learners will be examined by officers from the Road Safety Department.
Khoaele said the new system is expected to reduce the number of road accidents in Lesotho.
“Improving the quality of training for drivers could reduce the number of road accidents.
“It is estimated that 79 percent of road accidents are caused by people, either drivers or pedestrians. This could be reduced if drivers are well-trained.”
Khoaele said about 300 people die on Lesotho’s roads every year.
A further 2 000 people are seriously injured in traffic accidents every year.