‘Huge steps made in reducing accidents’

2016-12-02 10:18
The scene of the crash in which eight people, including a three-month-old baby, were killed when a taxi and truck collided on the R612 outside Bulwer in July last year.

The scene of the crash in which eight people, including a three-month-old baby, were killed when a taxi and truck collided on the R612 outside Bulwer in July last year. (File)

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The taxi industry in KwaZulu-Natal believes major strides have been made in the province’s roads to reduce the number of horrendous taxi accidents.

Preparing for the festive season rush, the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) in KZN has urged both taxi operators and drivers to continue working hand-in-hand in ensuring that commuters arrive at their destinations safely.

One way of making sure this happens is by ensuring that their vehicles are roadworthy. Santaco spokesperson Mandla Mzelemu commended the concerted efforts of organisations, operators and drivers to diminish the number of fatal road accidents.

“Drivers must always be aware that they are transporting people and they should ensure that their safety is first priority.

“We, as the organisation, have made every effort in the province by mobilising all the region’s taxi ranks by spreading the word of safety and engaging with commuters.

“We appeal to our drivers to follow the road rules, to travel within the recommended speed limit and avoid overloading,” he said. Making reference to the recent head-on collision between a bus and a minibus taxi that was travelling from Pietermaritzburg to Empangeni on November 15, in which five people were killed, Mzelemu said it was a preventable accident.

“Long-distance drivers must have their professional driving permit with them at all times when travelling.

“Operators should stop pushing long-distance drivers to carry more loads in order to make more money unless they have substitute driver on standby. We are trying by all means to avoid preventable incidents this festive season.

“Also, it is the responsibility of every driver on the roads to obey the road rules to ensure that other people driving on the same road are safe. This will help all of us,” Mzelemu said.

In addition, Mzelemu said the Santaco task team, Hlokomela, which means to be vigilant in Sotho, will be visible on the road to ensure compliance.

“Any taxi that should not be on the road will be impounded,” he said.

He said Santaco will be briefing its task team in Durban today.

Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) spokesperson Simon Zwane issued a warning to motorists to exercise maximum caution on the road without exception.

He said recent statistics show that small vehicles are the main cause of many accidents, proving that accidents caused by taxis have decreased.

Zwane said they will be focusing on young drivers as they are the main culprits of reckless driving. Zwane added that drunk drivers, drivers on cellphones and speedsters will face the full might of the law if caught.

• thabang.mathebula@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  road safety

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