Road safety - AA wants new approach

2011-05-05 21:31

Bloemfontein - A more aggressive and co-ordinated approach to shift South African motorists' behaviour was needed from the government, the Automobile Association of SA said on Thursday.

"Although there has been an increase in enforcement over the past holiday period, no significant engaging activities with the public were in place to make a real difference on the country's roads," spokesperson Gary Ronald said in a statement.

In 2011, at least 203 people died in road accidents over the Easter weekend, with 860 deaths during December 2010.

"South African families continue to lose bread-winners from road accidents," Ronald said.

In 2010, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele announced a national road traffic casualty reduction target of 50% in line with the United Nations' decade of action for road safety.

He said there was no indication of when the government would do something about it.

Ronald urged Ndebele to announce real action in the intervention of road safety in the country.

"The lack of action over the December and Easter periods was a big concern to us," he said.

The AA said that while the government had various road safety campaigns and strategies in place - such as Arrive Alive, the Mpumalanga traffic department's sivutha umlilo campaign, road blocks and a presence in and around key freeways - there was no "zero harm directive".

"Yet, we have not seen any effective initiatives or specific projects coming through from government to enforce road safety measures and instil a zero harm directive on our roads," said Ronald.

The AA recommended that the department of transport formulate a streamlined communication strategy with the public, road safety forums and road safety projects aimed at achieving a 50% crash reduction in the next 10 years.

Ronald said the AA was committed to working with the government to help the country play its part in reducing global crash figures.

  • edvermaak - 2011-05-05 21:46

    Too many people are employed in the revenue generation activities (i.e. speed trapping) and FAR too few in traditional policing. Observe one small matter of discipline: how many people (in particular TAXIS, stop BEHIND the white demarcatation at a Robot or Stop? We will never get the big things right if we cannot even get the basics working.

      Valis - 2011-05-05 22:40

      Quite right, there should be more visible policing. People need to learn there are consequences to breaking the law. If they catch people in the act so they will eventually realise they can't get away with it and attitudes will change. This thing of putting up cameras is useless(except for revenue gathering of course).

      Stephen Berry - 2011-05-05 23:29

      Its funny that everyone blames taxis only. Every day I encounter people speeding, driving through stop streets, through red robots, speeding up to prevent one from changing lanes, tail gating, forcing themselves into small spaces to get one care ahead, get upset because people dont pull over to the yellow line when they are travelling on the spead limit and to top it all they are not even obliged too,and many more. These are people of all ages, elderly included, all races. People are going to have to change their attitudes. Just think how much easier it would be, and how accidents even minor ones could be reduced, by simply being courteous, keeping the correct following distances, changing lanes at the correct times, adjusted their speed according to traffic conditions, and giving every person a 1 car 1 chance at an intersection. Only the Taxi drivers!!! I dont think so

      1gascan - 2011-05-06 07:25

      Agreed 100% Steve. Although I must mention that I personally feel that it is because of the taxis that most people now drive like they do. Think about it for a second, people used to be courteous on the roads once-upon-a-time, but since the taxis were "let loose" peoples' attitudes started changing dramatically - "why should I let this guy push in with the chance that he may kill me and my family", and then this type of driving become indoctrinated into one's habits on the road, and the next thing you know, everyone follows suit. I am not saying ALL taxi drivers are terrible drivers, there are those few out there that are actually courteous, and I try my best to be courteous too. Unfortunately SA drivers have a loooooooooooong way to go in order to change the current mindset - me included!

  • Trevor - 2011-05-05 21:52

    Good luck AA,it will never change, bribes will just become more expensive & courts even more overloaded.1st world principles don't work on the African continent,proven time and time again....

  • Cliff - 2011-05-05 21:55

    You are a racist idiot - not only an idiot!!

  • Bill - 2011-05-05 22:06

    They can start by installing cameras at key intersections and fine these clowns that think red traffic lights are their right to blast through...! Then make it a law, that those that delinquently evade paying their fines, loose their vehicles! Vehicles caught reversing back up freeway off ramps, should result in immediate confiscation of the vehicle. Better policing on taxis that are overloaded and speeding in the fast lane on highways should be a priority. All commercial passenger carrying vehicles, should be banned from the overtaking (fast lane) lane and their speed restricted to 80kmph. These are just a few examples, that if proactively implemented, could help reduce the death toll and make our roads safer. With of course drunken driving and high speed cowboys also taken to task.

  • CamsComment - 2011-05-05 22:33

    If I were a traffic cop, I would insist on working on a commission basis.

      william.botha - 2011-05-05 22:46

      Lol, you got a point there.

  • william.botha - 2011-05-05 22:41

    The shift should be in "shifting" the speed cops entrapping motorists with speed traps to actually policing bad road user behavior, like skipping stop streets, and stopping in no stopping zones. The same "speedy" who is entrapping motorists, brakes the law on his way to set up his trap, and does so again when he leaves. The same judge that will hear your traffic violation in court, will break the law on the way to court, and again when he leaves. It is time to change their focus from robbing motorists, to making the roads a safer place for all. And I don't mean the removal of speed traps, but change the speed laws to be practical.

      SaintBruce - 2011-05-06 11:41

      I reckon all manned static speed traps to be banned. Static mounted speed traps at hotspots are ok. The only manned ones should be from inside a moving Patrol vehicle ( used all over the world) with video footage of the event. The unmarked moving speed patrols are very effective, so why not here? This even works in the rain. Ever seen a Metro traffic cop anywhere when it rains? ( anyone know where they go? M&B for coffee perhaps ? ) Time to get smart and tough.

  • JohnInsa - 2011-05-05 22:44

    We should put these road deaths into perspective! In the UK, there are 30% more people and 50% more vehicles, but speed is strictly controlled and the police have a strong presence at all times and the law penalizes bad driving with penalty points and suspensions. Just 2222 people died in road accidents during the whole of 2010. I would be interested to know the total road deaths last year in South Africa, but it has to be more than this figure by a substantial number, especially when December 2010 alone produced 810 deaths. The reason for our death toll being so high is simple, we have a huge number of inexperienced drivers on our roads, no laws exist controlling the condition or standard of the vehicles allowed on our roads, we have little police presence on our roads, other than at holiday time or to collect money and there is no penalty system for drivers who break our driving laws. Its not difficult to see why our death tolls are high is it? The AA are 100% right to demand more meaningful controls and this becomes even more obvious when you get unsafe and unfit vehicles traveling at 60 kph on the same fast highways as high performance new cars being driven recklessly by people who have no laws to penalize them, other than a meaningless fine!!! Bring in vehicle standard controls, a points penalty system and get some police on the roads who do their jobs properly and don't use breaking the driving laws as a means of income for themselves!!!!

      Stephen Berry - 2011-05-05 23:31

      So tru and inconsiderate drivers who know it all

  • OomHennie - 2011-05-05 22:57

    There is only 5 things to do...very easy: 1. Better and more visible policing of the roads, this will lead to 2. 2. Remove ALL unroadworthy vehicles from the road. I mean ALL...specially taxis, which will lead to 3. 3. Better policing will have a check on drivers licence and non conformances of traffic rule. That mean you go for a re test on drivers licence.....I mean a re test not to go and buy another licence. 4. Caught again without a legal licence....go to jail and confiscate the vehicle. While in jail you can be used to repair the potholes in the roads. Saving of money and teaching you 2 skills namely observe to be a better driver and making the roads safe for others. 5. See easy if you really are interested to do it, instead of just talking!!!

      Salvation - 2011-08-24 10:20

      6. Bakkies are a commercial vehicle and not designed to carry passengers in the load bay. How many deaths and injuries aren't caused by that kind of transportation?

  • Stephen Berry - 2011-05-05 23:20

    @ iquanda, Rather keep quite and not let people know that you are a fool than open your mouth and let everyone know that you are a fool. I could make racist comments, but then I would be lowering myself to your level.

  • henk - 2011-05-06 10:38

    Any action taken by the traffic department will make a diference. The fact that they were controlling traffic at the tollgates on the N1, between Polokwane and Pretoria, this past monday meant that the traffic was actually flowing as it should. We did not wait longer than 10minutes at any of the 4 tollgates, where normaly, with the same amount of traffic and no traffic cops one could easely wait up to 45 minutes at each tollgate because ogf the idiots jumping the qeue. people know that what they do is wrong but without any cops around still do it. More vissable policeing will defenately reduce the amount of accidents on our roads. We all know that speed kills but the cause of the accident is mostly stupidity, arogance and disregard for the rules of the road.

  • whitehawk1 - 2011-05-06 11:28

    Garry. I have the solution for you Send all drivers to West Africa to learn how to drive they will quickly change the driving habbits. For beginners I would suggest Angola then next step to Ghana then for final to Serra Leone if they make the grade without incident then give the drivers licences.I agree with Ignanda about the Indians. the white is a stupid comment. here again you are driving in SA and you do not drive defensively in amongst the clowns you will remain at the back of the Que. Also Iganda most of the new drivers on our roads today have code 10 licences where they did not have to park the vehicle to qualify for a drivers licence. This from clever idiot in the ministry of transport.

  • Gary - 2011-05-06 12:58

    How's about cops driving on the highways and doing 120 and fining people going past them??? I've seen so many cops that simply don't give a crap. A the freedom day thing at the union buildings the other day I saw a taxi go right through a red light RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM and the cops did nothing.........WTF?

      Salvation - 2011-08-24 10:37

      I once had to avoid a person reversing in the fast lane on the N1 between what was DF Malan and Hans Strijdom Drives whilst 100m in front of him stood a Metro cop car with the officer watching it! This person then cut over the island to enter the opposite flowing freeway obviously having to enter in the fast lane first. How many trucks don't do this too without the reversing, but the U turn? Time for a fixed, solid divide to be installed between all Freeways?

  • Salvation - 2011-08-24 10:32

    The yellow demarcated lane is for EMERGENCY VEHICLES ONLY, so if your vehicle is in need to be attended to, get completely off the road. Perhaps the road's people can consider including every 500m on freeways and highways, a safe 'pull-off' area into which one can remove the vehicle from the road to attend to the faulting vehicle. How often doesn't one read of someone being killed whilst changing a wheel, parked in the emergency lane and the flat wheel is street side of the vehicle? Proper setting of the rear-view mirrors. Suggestin: Set the outside 'wing' mirrors as wide outwards as one can and the centre interior to properly face backwards. Then, when referring to the wing-mirrors the driver will better see what's more than likely in their blind spot before needing to turn the head to double check before overtaking, etc. If the rearward view is interrupted, then set the driver's side wing mirror to cover the loss of the interior mirror's view?

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