AA cedries road deaths

Grocott's Mail - - MOTORING - By STAFF RE­PORTER

The 17% in­crease in road deaths since the start of De­cem­ber is dis­may­ing, and sends an early sig­nal that the coun­try’s fes­tive road fa­tal­ity num­bers could be the worst in sev­eral years, ac­cord­ing to the Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion (AA). Ear­lier, the De­part­ment of Trans­port an­nounced that 845 peo­ple died on the coun­try’s roads be­tween 1 and 19 De­cem­ber, a 17% in­crease on the same pe­riod last year.

“A break­down of the fig­ures is show­ing a trend: lack of in­ter-per­sonal re­spect among mo­torists. Once again driver at­ti­tude is the cause of many of the fa­tal crashes; and it is a prob­lem that ap­pears to be get­ting worse, rather than bet­ter,” the AA said. Ac­cord­ing to Trans­port Min­is­ter Dipuo Peters, who re­leased the mid­month fes­tive sea­son as­sess­ment, hu­man fac­tors con­trib­uted 82% to fa­tal crashes while road and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors (10%) and ve­hi­cle fac­tors (8%) con­trib­uted the rest.

“We take ex­cep­tion to and con­demn in the strong­est pos­si­ble terms those who re­main ir­re­spon­si­ble and reck­less on our roads. They con­tinue to use our roads with dis­dain and with lit­tle re­gard to other law abid­ing road users," Peters said. "This un­car­ing at­ti­tude by these ir­re­spon­si­ble and reck­less road users led to the loss of in­no­cent lives on our roads.”

She said road users ig­nore the call for road safety.

What was en­cour­ag­ing, the AA noted, was the Min­is­ter’s ac­knowl­edge­ment that dras­tic mea­sures were needed to rein in the star­tling num­bers. She said she would en­gage with the prov­inces to con­sider ex­tend­ing over­time pay­ment for law-en­force­ment of­fi­cers, as well as in­ten­si­fy­ing lawen­force­ment vis­i­bil­ity.

“These are steps in the right di­rec­tion and the Min­is­ter should be sup­ported by every South African in this en­deav­our. How­ever, while we are sup­port­ive of these, and other steps, the real proof of their suc­cess will be at the end of the fes­tive pe­riod when the fi­nal num­bers are an­nounced.

“We are hope­ful that these will make a dif­fer­ence, but we are con­cerned that they will be too late,” the AA said.

Dur­ing her an­nounce­ment, the Min­is­ter also men­tioned pedes­tri­ans who ac­count for 35% of the to­tal num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties. The AA said pedes­tri­ans needed to make them­selves more vis­i­ble, es­pe­cially in poorly lit ar­eas, to en­sure their safety.

It also warned mo­torists to be vig­i­lant of drunk pedes­tri­ans who posed a risk to them­selves and to driv­ers who don’t see them quickly enough to avoid them.

– Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion

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