Prison for drunk drivers: RMI supports harsher sentences

Johannesburg - The Retail Motor Industry Organisation says it supports a call by the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, for the introduction of 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 South Africa’s roads during the recent Easter long weekend during which 235 people lost their lives in crashes. Half of those killed were passengers in vehicles, while pedestrians accounted for less than 25% of fatalities.

Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the RMI, says the organisation supports endeavours by the National Department of Transport to implement a regular vehicle testing regime, the aim being to reduce road deaths. According to the organisation: "The RMI fully supports the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety campaign, whereby South Africa’s Department of Transport has committed to reduce road deaths by 50% over a 10-year period which ends in 2020."

Grim stats

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 (RTMC), contributing factors in fatal crashes include burst, damaged or smooth tyres (36%), faulty brakes (25%), faulty/unsafe steering (24%) or other causes (15%).

Statistics from ENATIS, released in October 2016, show that of the 11 957 075 vehicles registered on the system, only 2 590 736 (21 66%) were required by law to be tested for roadworthiness.

Watch: 'Drunk googles' in action 

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