New plans to deal with high death toll on South African roads – TopAuto
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New plans to deal with high death toll on South African roads

In late February, South African transport minister Fikile Mbalula announced several new initiatives intended to reduce road fatalities across the country.

The Road Safety Partnership South Africa (RSP-SA) has approved of these initiatives and anticipates a potential reduction in fatalities, provided it sees a targeted approach from all sectors.

“While the effectiveness of some of these measures may remain to be seen, they are certain steps that seem to be more decisive than previously and could potentially be some of the more proactive measures the country has seen in some time,” the RSP-SA said.

The measures

The measures proposed by Mbalula include:

  • Operations to prevent drunk driving during weekends.
  • A focused national pedestrian programme will be introduced at routes that have been identified as hazardous.
  • Road safety education and awareness campaigns to address risky behaviour amongst the youth.
  • Having various stakeholders assist with an increased focus on driver and vehicle fitness.

These new initiatives may be met with skepticism, however, due to previous government-led initiatives not resulting in a reduction on deaths on the country’s roads.

In January, the Automobile Association (AA) criticized South Africa’s current road laws – with a focus on the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act.

The AA stated “there is no evidence (the Act) has saved a single life. ”

This was coupled with the fact that January saw a 75% increase in vehicle crashes and a 78% increase in fatalities compared to the same month last year.

Pedestrians accounted for the majority of fatalities, at 59% of all deaths recorded.

It must be noted that traffic levels have increased and decreased due to Covid-19 lockdown regulations, and may have impacted accident ststistics.

Decisive action

Mbalula said that with the new initiatives, “stringent and decisive action needs to be taken against those who put themselves and other road users at risk.”

“The proposed initiatives address some of the biggest problems identified by the statistics. It provides a definitive solution to try reduce road fatalities as much as possible.”

“Rather than just lamenting the situation on the road, government is instead instituting plans to preferably stop or, failing that, penalize these behaviours.”

“Now that government is taking firm steps toward real change, RSP-SA encourages drivers to do their part. Acknowledge that there can be serious consequences and that anything can go wrong at any time. With this in mind, commit to protecting yourself and other road users,” the RSP-SA said.

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