Prevention better than cure
The best way to solve the massive backlog at the Road Accident Fund is to stop crashing
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.
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.