Prison for driving drunk

2017-05-12 06:00

THE Retail Motor Industry (RMI) has welcomed national Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi’s call to introduce a prison sentence for drunk driving

Maswanganyi wants to introduce harsher sanctions to combat drunk and negligent driving — including a mandatory prison sentence of at least two years if a motorist is convicted of either offence.

The minister’s call comes in the wake of a shocking 51% increase in the number of fatalities on our roads during the recent Easter long weekend in which 235 people were killed in traffic accidents. Half of those who died were passengers in vehicles, while pedestrians accounted for just under 25% of the fatalities.

According to latest statistics released by Arrive Alive, up to 12 702 road deaths are reported annually in South Africa. The figure shows that much needs to be done to reduce the number of fatalities, the death count representing only the number of people who lose their lives at the scene of an accident and not those who succumb elsewhere due to their injuries.

The RMI fully supports the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety campaign, under which South Africa’s Department of Transport has committed to reduce road deaths by 50% over a 10-year period that ends in 2020.

International studies have found that safety awareness is paramount in reducing the number of road accidents — whether applied to roads, vehicles or road users. Locally, statistics show that 10% of motor vehicle accidents are caused by non-roadworthy vehicles.

According to an assessment by the Road Traffic Management Corporation, contributing factors in fatal crashes include burst, damaged or smooth tyres (36%), faulty brakes (25%), faulty or unsafe steering (24%), or other causes (15%).

And statistics from eNatis, released in October 2016, show that of the 11 957 075 vehicles registered on the system, only 2 590 736 (21,7%) were required by law to be tested for roadworthiness. The CEO of the RMI, Jakkie Olivier, says the organisation supports endeavours by the National Department of Transport to implement a regular vehicle testing regime in this country, the aim being to reduce road deaths. — Supplied.

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