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Are our roads safe enough?

06 August 2012, 07:12

ARE OUR ROADS SAFE ENOUGH?

Recently News 24 posted an article in which the government wants to lower the blood/alcohol level in the interests of road safety. A general consensus will indicate that drivers will carry on drinking and driving.

Despite the alteration to the law. Drinking and driving is an entrenched factor in South African driving habits and will not change much when the legal level is decreased.    

As an example, when I was young, It was quite normal to drink and drive: what is being said is drinking while driving. The driver up front and the passengers doing their thing at the back. It was normal practice on long trips. After work orientated end of the year parties drunk persons would opt to drive their own vehicle home and unless he is too far gone he would be loaded into another vehicle and delivered to his home. All is normal. Drinking and driving was not seen as an anti-social pastime but still remains a killer.    

Speeding is one of the main killers on our roads. Here I will quickly add that speed itself does not kill and only the energy produced by speed is the killer. Speed is acceptable when it is applied by competent drivers and sadly we, in this country of ours, do not have too many of them. Recently I was returning to Welkom when a huge truck overtook me. I was going at 120km/hr and felt like I was stationary. I accelerated and caught up with the truck to compare its speed. It was doing 140 according to my speedometer. Plus/minus 5%. The truck was loaded with what appeared to be machinery. One can only imagine the carnage this rig will set loose should something goes wrong.    

Second case: Travelling from Welkom to Kroonstad I passed a Popular mega bus. After  some kilometres the bus overtook my vehicle I was doing 115km/hr. Accelerating to match the speed of the fully loaded bus placed it at 120km/hr. I have been under the impression that a loaded bus or taxi may not exceed 100km/hr.We saw the ghastly result of a mega bus accident recently.    Taxi stops on a traffic circle to unload passengers causing traffic to backup behind it; Taxi and police vehicle navigate a traffic circle going the wrong way around: The cop was reported but nothing came of it. A driver parked  his vehicle for an indefinite time on a traffic circle.    

Of late there is a tendency for ambulances to be involved in road accidents. While police vehicles follow the same tendency. One has the distinct impression the road safety system is coming adrift at the seams.     

The road in front of my house has a good surface and now is being used more than the local racetrack (Phakisa)

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