JOHANNESBURG. South Africa – One thousand six hundred and eighty-five people died on South Africa’s roads during the 2021/2022 Christmas holiday – 14% more than the previous year.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbabula blamed jaywalking, speeding, slippery roads, overtaking across barrier lines, poor visibility. Indeed, stats reveal that human error caused 79% of fatal crashes, road factors contributed 11%, vehicle failure 10%.
Mbabula asserted that, when fully implemented, revised AARTO regulations would reduce the toll.
REGARD FOR THE LAW ‘LOW’
MasterDrive’s CEO Eugene Herbert told The Corner: “Drivers must make major changes before real change happens in SA – for instance, many drivers were arrested for speeding and drinking/driving.
“The consequences of high speeds and digesting alcohol are as dire with the current laws but what is needed to bring this message home? – a question hard to answer – band ut current traffic laws don’t meet international standards, penalties should be improved.
“Education and awareness campaigns are extensive but regard for road safety and the law remains low.”
Mbabula was not “wholly” wrong, Herbert conceded, “but the SA demerit points system needs an overhaul.”
‘FOCUS ON DEMERITS’
Drivers on SA’s roads – compared to international behaviour – have a different attitude to obeying road regulations. That could be because, internationally, the consequences of dangerous and reckless driving were much greater – driving bans, jail, fines.
“It illustrates that a demerit system focused on ending bad driving, but with less focus on potential financial gain, could be part of the answer to the high fatality rates. MasterDrive previously commented on a High Court ruling that, if AARTO were implemented with cognisance to all stakeholders, it would make a difference.
“Ultimately, real change to the road fatalities is going to take commitment from drivers, government, businesses, and society at large. Irrespective of these disheartening statistics and the current uncertainty in legislation, one should not let this deter efforts to contribute to safer roads.”
READ MORE MasterDrive features at http://www.carmanscorner.co.za/.s=MasterDrive