With an increase in fatal accidents on South African roads, the Ministry of Transport and Public Works is seeking new mechanisms to combat negligent driving. On Tuesday, the early morning peak traffic gridlock was worsened by a four-car pile-up on Jakes Gerwel Drive in Mitchells Plain. The accident claimed the life of a 35-year old traffic officer who was on his way to work when the collision occurred. Almost on a daily basis, Cape Town motorists experience some sort of traffic backlog due to accidents.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said that the suspect fled the scene after his vehicle collided into oncoming traffic. MEC for Ministry of Transport and Public Works Donald Grant described the accident as “shocking and negligent.”
The provincial department is working with the national minister Sindisiwe Chikunga and the Road Traffic Management Corporation, which is the national body that is entrusted with improving road safety. The Ministry has made recommendation about the implementation of the breathalyser which will be piloted effective from the Easter weekend.
Grant noted that 82 per cent of accidents occur as a result of “driver behaviour”, which includes; speeding, alcohol related issues, and distracted driving.
In January 2016, 115 fatalities occurred on South African roads. In February 2016, the number of fatalities decreased to 99; 53 of whom were pedestrians, and 26 passengers. He further noted that a significant percentage of passengers killed in accidents, on analysis, are not wearing safety belts. More than 70 per cent of these fatalities occurred within the major metropolitan area.
He urged drivers to respect the rules of the road in order to assist in decreasing the number of road accidents and to take responsibility of passengers by insisting that they wear safety belts.
“With our resources we are doing everything we can to minimize the number of fatalities and crashes, but we do need the cooperation of drivers. This is an appeal to all drivers to act and behave responsibly and refrain from texting while driving,” Grant concluded.
VOC (Thakira Desai)