Cutting speed limit ‘will cost R100 million’

2011-09-24 20:54

Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele’s proposal to reduce the highway speed limit from 120km/h to 100km/h could cost at least R100 million.

Rob Handfield-Jones, managing director of driving skills company, driving.co.za, says about 15 000 road signs would have to be replaced to reflect the new speed limit. At R1 300 each, this would cost about R20 million.

When one considers the waste of replacing signs before the end of their intended lifespan, changes to legislation necessitated by the change in speed limit, the cost of changing learners’ tests, manuals and the like and the cost to tracking companies of reconfirming speed limits, R100 million is “an easy figure to reach”, says Handfield-Jones.

Ndebele’s call follows one of the deadliest months on the country’s roads.

Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesperson Ashref Ismail said over 150 people have died in major crashes since the start of September.

Major crashes are accidents where more than five lives are lost.

“The main cause is human error and dangerous driving,” Ismail said.

Handfield-Jones said reducing the speed limit will only result in extra cash for municipalities.

During the City of Tshwane Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) pilot project between July 2008 and October 2009, 675 881 fines valued at about R350 million were issued.

In 2008, fines generated about R13 million a month in Cape Town alone, which added over R150 million to the city’s annual revenue.

The City of Johannesburg wants to increase its traffic fines revenue by R100 million. The city hopes that this will mitigate the impact of Aarto, according to its 2010/11 to 2012/13 medium term budget.

Handfield-Jones said that the speed limit for buses and taxis was reduced to 100km/h in 2000. However, the fatality rate for buses continued to climb so rapidly that it jumped 30%, from 2005 to 2006 alone.

“Lower speed limits have not reduced fatalities on taxis and buses and they will not do so for other vehicles,” he said.

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