Operators re-learn driving skills

2016-09-22 06:00
Senior Road Safety Manager Mark Jansen, during the workshop held for taxi drivers and owners in Mfuleni. PHOTO: MBONGISENI MASEKO

Senior Road Safety Manager Mark Jansen, during the workshop held for taxi drivers and owners in Mfuleni. PHOTO: MBONGISENI MASEKO

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Taxi owners and operators recently attended a workshop held to train them to be better and safe drivers, avoiding accidents on the roads.

The one day workshop was held at the Mfuleni Community Hall last Thursday.

The Defensive Driving Workshop, which was attended by about 100 memebrs of the taxi industry in the province, was sponsored and conducted by the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

Willem van Wyk, a collision investigating, driver training and assessing specialist, from the The Action Saver Group, said most drivers caused accidents because they do not inspect their cars, more especially tyres, to check if they are in good condition before embarking on a journey.

“Texting or talking on your cellphone is wrong. You must have your two hands on the steering wheel(all the time), when driving. Some drivers take to the wheel in an absent-minded state and fail to notice other traffic on the road.

Solid line for some taxi drivers means you can overtake. We need to be cautious drivers at all times.

The operators were cautioned for putting even one extra person extra in their taxis because they wanted to make extra money.

“If you do that it means you are playing with people’s lives.”

He also said the taxi drivers should encourage their passengers to wear seat belts.

Mzoxolo Dibela, the General Secretary of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) Western Cape chapter, said the training was good to curb road accidents.

“This is a very important event, because it will help in reducing accidents. I am sure that the taxi drivers will use the information and spread it to others who did not attend.

It will change the attitude and mindset of the taxi drivers.

It is important to bring such training to them. Some of the things that contribute to accidents are over-speeding and fatigue.

There should be safe places where taxi drivers can stop and rest along the road when they are tired,” Dibela said.

Dibela also said they work close with traffic cops in conducting roadblocks and they tell the taxi drivers not to drive more than two hours without taking a break.

Bathi Madolo, 37, a driver whose route is between Delft and Epping, said the training was an eye-opener.

“I have learnt important things here. I realised that we like overloads and our passengers do not wear their safety belts.

We do not even obey the road signs, which leads to accidents,” Madolo said.

Skhumbuzo Zeka, a taxi owner from Nyanga, also praised the training.

“It was really good for us. It raised awareness of things that we must do to prevent causing accidents, like checking our cars if they are in good condition before driving.

Safety belts, tyres, brakes and following distance are the backbone to this industry.

Every taxi driver should get this training. It really raised awareness on things that we take for granted...,” Zeka said.

RAF also told the taxi drivers and taxi owners what they should do after getting involved in an accident.

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