Western Cape minibus casualties increase
Cape Town - Deaths caused by minibus taxi accidents in the Western Cape have increased by more than 2% since 2005, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.
Provincial road safety programme director David Frost said taxis accounted for 10% of casualties in 2005 compared to 12.48% in 2010/2011.
Frost was testifying in aggravation of sentence in the trial of taxi driver Jacob Humphreys, who crossed over the Buttskop level crossing in Blackheath on August 25 2010, and collided with a train.
Ten of the pupils he was transporting were killed. Four others were seriously injured.
Frost said the taxi industry had evolved to suit the needs of drivers and fleet owners rather than those of passengers.
The industry revolved around driving fast to get as many fares in a day, clearly disregarding the safety of commuters.
Frost said there had been an increase in damage to provincial level crossing booms, with almost one incident for every working day of the year.
"This is clearly indicative of the disregard for the booms when they are down," he said.
"There is a vast disparity of the weight, mass and momentum of a train compared to a motor vehicle. It's like a fight between a heavyweight and a lightweight."