Government and road users must take accountability
South Africans have again ended another disastrous weekend on the country’s roads with one incident alone claiming the lives of 19 people in Westonaria in Gauteng. The human cost of these crashes is immeasurable and requires urgent action.
“It is becoming all too common that we hear of crashes and deaths on our roads every weekend. Week in and week out there are multiple deaths as a result of motor vehicle crashes and something needs to be done to address this as a matter of urgency,” the AA commented.
There are documented road safety management strategies that need to be in place to ensure safer road conditions. These include, amongst others, better road management plans, safer vehicles, and safer road users.
“It is time for the government to step in and act. We need, for instance, better enforcement to prevent bad user behaviour, improved statistical information to measure progress and success, well-maintained roads, and better education of all users including pedestrians. We believe more can be done to deal with the current situation,” the AA said.
The Association said while it was important for government to play its role, it is vital that road users also play their part.
“Not enough road users follow the rules. On a daily basis we all see drivers whose tyres are in a poor condition, who use their cellphones while driving, who don’t buckle up or who don’t obey the speed limit, or indeed any rules of the road. In many cases pedestrians walk across busy roads without looking or walk in the road when a pavement is available. These behaviours can be improved through ongoing education,” the AA noted.
It is also critical, the AA said, that proper statistics on road fatalities and crashes be provided across the country as this will provide a clear indication of where interventions are most needed.
“With the festive season holidays around the corner many hundreds of thousands of people will be on the road. We do not believe this year will be any different to previous years and, unfortunately, we are concerned that crashes and fatalities will remain high unless urgent action is taken,” the AA concluded.
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