SA roads 'shocking'

2006-10-03 15:54

Two road safety watchdog associations warned that SA roads are deteriorating at a "shocking pace" and play an ever bigger role in accidents, even harming the economy.

The Automobile Association (AA) said proper maintenance could contribute to an immediate decrease in about 5% of road deaths, costing the economy about R40bn.

In the meantime, the problem is becoming worse, said AA spokesperson Gary Ronald.

"In some parts of the country, the national roads are so bad that it is not wise to use them at night," said a road safety group, Cars, in a statement.

Ian Auret, chairperson of Cars said it looked as if authorities on local and national level, tried to solve the problem of potholes by putting up signs warning against potholes, rather than fixing them.

Ronald said the AA had received more than 1 000 complaints about bad roads over the past month. The organisation often received shocking photographs on faded or missing road signs and potholes.

One of the worst roads appeared to be the N12 in North West.

According to the AA, over 18 000 people died on SA roads in 2005.

Each death cost the economy on average R624 000, a study done in 2002 found.

The country's crippled railway system forced more companies to use trucks rather than trains to transport goods. This caused a road, which was designed to last 20 years, to be worn down after only six or eight years.