Pre­ven­tion bet­ter than cure

The best way to solve the mas­sive back­log at the Road Ac­ci­dent Fund is to stop crash­ing

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - SAMAN­THA GREATHEAD

AS from April 2018, mo­torists can ex­pect to pay an ad­di­tional 52c/litre of fuel due to an in­crease in fuel levies.

Of this, 30c/litre will go to the Road Ac­ci­dent Fund (RAF) in an at­tempt to sta­bilise the li­a­bil­i­ties of the fund.

The RAF has a mas­sive back­log of claims which ac­tu­ar­ies es­ti­mate will be at R355 bil­lion by 2020/21.

While the role of the RAF is im­por­tant and has been a ma­jor life-changer for those who have been dras­ti­cally af­fected fol­low­ing a car crash, it might be time to con­sider an­other way to lessen the fi­nan­cial strain on the in­sti­tu­tion, said Eu­gene Her­bert, MD at MasterDrive.

MasterDrive of­fers ad­vanced road­craft train­ing pro­grams to cor­po­rates on all ve­hi­cle types from light to HCV’s.

“It is time for var­i­ous stake­hold­ers in the road safety sphere to come to to­gether and find a way to re­duce the num­ber of crashes that oc­cur in the first place.

“There are many or­gan­i­sa­tions which have en­gaged with MasterDrive to re­duce the risk their driv­ers face on the roads both for work pur­poses and in their per­sonal ca­pac­ity.

“To­gether with var­i­ous cor­po­rates, we have seen a re­duc­tion of up to 50% in the num­ber of crashes in which the driv­ers of each or­gan­i­sa­tion are in­volved,” said Her­bert.

This is an­other area where real change de­pends on col­lec­tive ef­fort. “In­stead of forc­ing in­no­cent vic­tims to wait lengthy time pe­ri­ods for pay­outs, which they may be de­pend­ing on for ad­e­quate qual­ity of life, we need to start look­ing at pre­ven­tion rather than cure, more ex­ten­sively.

“Var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions have the po­ten­tial to con­trib­ute pos­i­tively to this chal­lenge.

“Rather than de­cry the in­ad­e­qua­cies of a sys­tem, which is un­der great pres­sure in this coun­try, we can start rec­ti­fy­ing the root of the is­sue be­fore we even need to claim.”

The eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties cre­ated by South Africa’s high crash statis­tics also ex­tend far be­yond the RAF.

“Just one ex­am­ple is the in­sur­ance in­dus­try. Re­duc­ing the num­ber of crashes on our roads can im­pact large por­tions of this in­dus­try. Not only short-term in­sur­ance can ben­e­fit from ini­tia­tives like train­ing but long-term in­sur­ance, such as life pro­tec­tion, can ben­e­fit as well,” says Her­bert.

He said the ex­am­ples of in­dus­tries which stand to greatly ben­e­fit from a re­duc­tion in fa­tal­i­ties and in­juries on our roads are in­nu­mer­able and added the chal­lenges faced by the RAF are echoed in many or­gan­i­sa­tions in vary­ing de­grees.

“If cor­po­rate and train­ing bod­ies tackle this chal­lenge to­gether, the dif­fer­ence that can be made will also be in­nu­mer­able.”

• Mean­while, the Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion of SA (AA) have is­sued a plea to all reck­less driv­ers to leave their fam­i­lies at home.

For reck­less, read any­one who con­stantly drive faster than ve­hi­cles around them, in­stead of con­form­ing to a pre­dictable, safe flow of traf­fic.

“And, if you’re a reck­less driver who op­er­ates for profit, con­sider driv­ing alone as well.

“All reck­less driv­ers should drive on empty roads, prefer­ably on closed cir­cuits, of which there are many for hire in the coun­try. In this way you’ll only cause harm to your­self, and not any­one else in the ve­hi­cle with you,” the AA said in a state­ment.

The AA warned all road users need to be aware that traf­fic on ma­jor routes, in­clud­ing the N1 to Lim­popo, N3 to Dur­ban, and N1 and N2 to Cape Town will be busier than usual from March 30 to April 2.

PHOTO: TWIT­TER-NETCARE911

A col­li­sion be­tween a mini-bus taxi and a bakkie, both ve­hi­cles packed with pas­sen­gers, left 29 peo­ple in­jured on the R103 near Li­ons River. The AA has urged reck­less driv­ers to rather go play on race tracks this Easter Break.

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