Prison for driv­ing drunk

Ve­hi­cle sell­ers sup­port min­is­ter’s call for manda­tory jail for driv­ing while over the achohol limit

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

THE Re­tail Mo­tor In­dus­try (RMI) has wel­comed na­tional Trans­port Min­is­ter Joe Maswan­ganyi’s call to in­tro­duce a prison sentence for drunk driv­ing

Maswan­ganyi wants to in­tro­duce harsher sanc­tions to com­bat drunk and neg­li­gent driv­ing — in­clud­ing a manda­tory prison sentence of at least two years if a mo­torist is con­victed of either of­fence.

The min­is­ter’s call comes in the wake of a shock­ing 51% in­crease in the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties on South Africa’s roads dur­ing the re­cent Easter long week­end in which 235 peo­ple were killed in traffic ac­ci­dents. Half of those who died were pas­sen­gers in ve­hi­cles, while pedes­tri­ans ac­counted for just un­der 25% of the fa­tal­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to lat­est sta­tis­tics re­leased by Ar­rive Alive, up to 12 702 road deaths are re­ported an­nu­ally in South Africa.

The fig­ure shows that much needs to be done to re­duce the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties, the death count rep­re­sent­ing only the num­ber of peo­ple who lose their lives at the scene of an ac­ci­dent and not those who suc­cumb else­where due to their in­juries.

The RMI fully sup­ports the United Na­tions’ Decade of Ac­tion for Road Safety cam­paign, un­der which South Africa’s De­part­ment of Trans­port has com­mit­ted to re­duce road deaths by 50% over a 10-year pe­riod that ends in 2020.

In­ter­na­tional stud­ies have found that safety aware­ness is para­mount in re­duc­ing the num­ber of road ac­ci­dents — whether ap­plied to roads, ve­hi­cles or road users. Lo­cally, sta­tis­tics show that 10% of mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents are caused by non-road­wor­thy ve­hi­cles.

Ac­cord­ing to an as­sess­ment by the Road Traffic Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, con­tribut­ing fac­tors in fa­tal crashes in­clude burst, dam­aged or smooth tyres (36%), faulty brakes (25%), faulty or un­safe steer­ing (24%), or other causes (15%).

And sta­tis­tics from eNatis, re­leased in Oc­to­ber 2016, show that of the 11 957 075 ve­hi­cles reg­is­tered on the sys­tem, only 2 590 736 (21,7%) were re­quired by law to be tested for road­wor­thi­ness. The CEO of the RMI, Jakkie Olivier, says the or­gan­i­sa­tion sup­ports en­deav­ours by the Na­tional De­part­ment of Trans­port to im­ple­ment a reg­u­lar ve­hi­cle test­ing regime in this coun­try, the aim be­ing to re­duce road deaths.

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