Tar­get road crim­i­nals

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

FAIL­URE to ad­here to the rules of the road and to en­sure that our ve­hi­cles are road­wor­thy has once again cost us hun­dreds of lives over the hol­i­day sea­son. Spik­ing at 5 per­cent more com­pared to the 2015 De­cem­ber hol­i­days, there were 1 714 lives lost this fes­tive sea­son.

Just this past Sun­day, a three-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent claimed the lives of 16 peo­ple, in­clud­ing six chil­dren un­der the age of 10.

The driver of one of the ve­hi­cles is be­lieved to have gone over the me­dian af­ter los­ing con­trol, then crush­ing into on­com­ing traf­fic – a burst tyre per­haps?

When re­leas­ing a pre­lim­i­nary re­port on road death sta­tis­tics yes­ter­day, Trans­port Min­is­ter Dipuo Peters listed faulty brakes among the many con­tribut­ing fac­tors to the crashes that oc­curred dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­riod.

How dif­fi­cult can it be to get a car checked be­fore trav­el­ling? Is it per­haps be­cause ve­hi­cle own­ers don’t value their lives?

Where do they get the courage to be­gin their jour­neys with un­road­wor­thy ve­hi­cles know­ing there’s an in­creased pres­ence of traf­fic of­fi­cers on na­tional roads dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son? Do they some­how man­age to ne­go­ti­ate their way out of hav­ing their cars im­pounded by pay­ing “cooldrink” money? Per­haps it’s time the Depart­ment of Trans­port re­viewed its pro­grammes and came up with new mea­sures to ad­dress the deadly curse of un­road­wor­thy ve­hi­cles. Sim­ply re­peat­ing the same “height­ened vis­i­bil­ity on our roads” mes­sage does not cut it.

Blame can how­ever not be laid squarely on the depart­ment. Ir­re­spon­si­ble mo­torists are largely at fault and, sadly, their ac­tions lead to the deaths of those who do their best to obey road rules – like keep­ing to the speed limit and over­tak­ing only when it’s safe to do so.

Two weeks ago, Peters said 13 000 driv­ers had been is­sued with fines, mostly for driv­ing with­out seat­belts or while us­ing their cell­phones. Pun­ish­ment for th­ese of­fend­ers, along with drunk driv­ing, ought to be tough so that peo­ple will think be­fore get­ting be­hind the wheel.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.