Use law to keep death off the road
SOUTH Africans take to the roads in earnest this weekend ahead of the 2018 festive season.
It’s a time for joy, but it’s also a time of trepidation for those who have to pick up the pieces.
Thousands of law enforcement officers and emergency medical response personnel will be out on the roads from this weekend to Christmas in 10 days’ time.
They’ll do it at New Year and then into January as the entire process reverses and people return home.
The really unfair aspect is that all of this effort won’t make a real difference to the carnage that will ensue on our roads.
Families will be split asunder, at this the most convivial time of the year, children will be orphaned, parents will be left shattered, unable to heal.
To rub salt in the wounds, not all the dead will be the authors of their own fate.
Many will fall victims to the selfish drivers who drove drunk, drove when they were tired, drove too fast or drove vehicles that were patently unroadworthy. They will be the innocents. The greatest tragedy of all will be that nobody had to die – not if people obeyed the laws that we have. But people don’t. When they’re caught, many will cynically exploit an overstretched and under-resourced justice system to escape sanction and this disgraceful cycle will continue.
We don’t want new laws, we just want the ones that we have actually applied.
The authorities can start by denying instant bail for drunken drivers, holding them for the weekend or over the entire festive season before bringing them before the magistrate on the first available court day.
They can impound the vehicles too and levy punitive sums for their release.
Maybe that’s the only way to cut through the arrogance and make our roads safe – this Christmas at least.