Drivers need to take responsibility behind the wheel this festive season

Calling on government to do more is only part of the solution warns AA

Weekend reports that the number of fatalities on South African roads this festive season have already surpassed 500 is of great concern and does not bode well for the rest of this holiday period, the Automobile Association (AA) said.

“While government has a significant role to play in reducing road deaths, there appears to be a total lack of responsibility by some motorists; they are being reckless with their own and other motorists’ lives,” the AA said.

The Association warned that the number of fatalities at the end of the festive season would not be dissimilar to those of previous years.

“There are, unfortunately, too many people who still don’t follow the rules: they don’t buckle up when driving, exceed speed limits, talk or text on their cellphones behind the wheel or drive after drinking. Better law enforcement and a generally improved sense of responsibility among drivers are two areas that must be addressed urgently,” the AA noted.

Another area of concern is the high number of pedestrians killed during this period. The AA said improved education was needed to ensure people who are walking on roads understand the risks and don’t become victims even when they are not driving.

“Too often we hear of pedestrians crossing busy roads, or even highways, sometimes at night when visibility is poor. Children especially need to be better equipped to walk on our roads because, clearly, not enough is being done at the moment,” said the AA.

Apart from this, the AA said, there was an urgent need to ensure comprehensive and correct statistics are made available on fatalities and injuries reflecting not only the festive periods but the whole year.

“We have said previously that this is an important part of gauging the success or failure of any initiative but the numbers remain elusive. Unless government is able to provide these figures, no-one will have a clear picture of the situation on our roads or where interventions are most needed,” the AA said.

Contact AASA Public Affairs
Telephone 011 799 1126

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