Speed 'rarely the main cause of crashes'
Johannesburg - Speed is rarely the root cause of collisions, the Justice Project SA (JPSA) said on Tuesday after Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said he intended asking Cabinet to reduce the maximum speed limit from 120km/h to 100km/h.
Even when two vehicles were both travelling just 60km/h, a head-on crash was devastating, the JPSA chairperson Howard Dembovsky said.
"Head-on collisions, of which there have been many in the last two months, are almost always resultant from one or more parties committing one or more moving violations prior to the collision occurring," he said.
Ndebele said studies conducted in other countries such as Australia, where the speed limit is 110 km/h, indicated that a reduction in the speed limit could save lives.
He was speaking after visiting the scene of a minibus accident on the N2, between Empangeni and Mtubatuba, in which 10 people died on Tuesday.
Ndebele said 126 people had been killed in the past two months in accidents involving public transport and that "something drastic needs to be done".
Dembovsky said the transport department and the Road Traffic Management Corporation had repeatedly said crashes were almost always caused by people violating road laws, but that enforcement authorities insisted on focusing on speed prosecution.
"It has also been revealed that somewhere in the order of 45% of all people who die on our roads annually are under the influence of alcohol."
Dembovsky said Ndebele had to stop comparing South Africa to countries like Australia, as they had highly professional and effective law enforcement agencies.
"So what if the minister gets his ill thought out scheme of reducing the current general speed limit... all this will mean is that even more cameras will explode onto the scene to earn traffic authorities more revenue," he said.
"If speed enforcement does not revert to stopping speedsters at the time of their infringement, then reducing the speed limit will have absolutely no effect on the incidences of speeding."