Make buck­ling up a must for all

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

BASED on the most re­cent statis­tics, 38 peo­ple will die on our roads to­day. Last year was par­tic­u­larly bad. Ac­cord­ing to statis­tics com­piled by the Road Traf­fic Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, 14 071 peo­ple died on our roads in 2016. It was the high­est num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties since 2006.

Most of the ac­ci­dents (77.5%) could be blamed on peo­ple. Ve­hi­cle fac­tors ac­counted for about 6% of fa­tal­i­ties and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors 16%. KwaZulu-Natal recorded the high­est num­ber of road deaths be­tween Jan­uary and De­cem­ber last year – 2 715.

This week­end more lives were lost – seven in the West­ern Cape, an all too fa­mil­iar sit­u­a­tion ev­ery week.

Provin­cial traf­fic of­fi­cials ar­rested 23 mo­torists for driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence, and breath test­ing was per­formed on 1 233 driv­ers. The high­est breath al­co­hol read­ing was recorded in Cale­don at 1.50mg/1 000ml – more than six times the le­gal limit of 0.24mg/1 000ml. Thirty-one speed­ing of­fences were recorded. On some week­ends more than 20 peo­ple die on the West­ern Cape’s roads. This can never be ac­cepted as nor­mal.

In KwaZulu-Natal, four peo­ple died when a taxi hit the back of a truck. Twelve others were in­jured. On Sun­day, eight peo­ple died on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, another in­ci­dent which in­volved a truck and a bakkie.

The prob­lem with taxis and bakkies is that the pas­sen­gers are not strapped in. When th­ese ve­hi­cles are in­volved in crashes, pas­sen­gers are flung out, re­sult­ing in se­ri­ous in­juries or fa­tal­i­ties.

If the au­thor­i­ties are se­ri­ous about re­duc­ing road fa­tal­i­ties, they should make it com­pul­sory for pas­sen­gers in taxis, buses and bakkies to buckle up.

It is a sim­ple so­lu­tion, but one that would save lives.

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