Harare – Members of the Southern Africa Development Community are harmonising road traffic signs and signals, with uniformity expected to be achieved by 2025.
In an interview with The Southern Times this week, Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe acting director (operations, research and marketing) Mr Ernest Muchena said, “The SADC region is made up of different countries where English, Portuguese and French are some of the non-indigenous languages spoken. After thorough research exercises, we noted that misinterpretation of road signs and conflicting road signals were some of the causes of road carnage across the region.
“So, in an effort to minimise that, the region came together and decided to harmonize road signs and rules. There is a lot of cross-border traffic movement in the region. As a result, you will realize that a South African driver may pass through Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe up to the DR Congo.
“As a region we sat down and realised that a driver from Mozambique may not be able to interpret traffic signs in Botswana, Eswatini and other English or French speaking countries in SADC. It was, therefore, decided that let’s adopt uniform signs and harmonise road rules so that drivers from the region can be able to interpret the signs.”
Although full harmonisation of the signs and signals is expected to have taken place by 2025, work is already in motion with the region having made tremendous strides in replacing written words with uniform pictorial signs.
“You will find that most of the signs in SADC at the moment are pictorial in nature and do not carry any words and even in those instances where they carry written words, they would be same in colour so that the drivers are able to understand and interpret them correctly for example the ‘Stop’ sign. By 2025, old signs would be phased out and new harmonized signs will be adopted,” Mr Muchena said.SADC experts on traffic safety meet regularly to evaluate and adopt ways of reducing road carnage across the region.