Bad attitude to blame for road deaths
January 4, 2017
Reckless speeding, drunken drivers and pedestrians crossing busy roads without due care are just some of the reasons for the carnage on the roads over the festive season – 1714 fatalities were recorded between December 1 and January 9.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said driver and passenger attitudes were to blame for the high number of fatalities on the roads, as well as the fact that there were two back-to-back long weekends and a lot of rain.
“The problem is that people just don’t want to change their attitude on the roads,” she said.
“Stop trying to impress your friends. The culture of the driver alerting the passengers that their seatbelts are not on is not there.”
Festive road death toll may rise another 30%‚ experts warn
Peters said drinking and driving should be regarded as a “menace, as a sickness”.
The Department of Transport wants drunken driving to be changed from being a Schedule3 to a Schedule5 offence in the Criminal Procedures Act, which would result in harsher sentences.
More than 400,000 fines were issued over the holiday period for offences such as speeding, drunken driving, reckless and negligent driving, vehicles not being roadworthy, and expired or falsified licences.
Peters said the implementation of a points demerit system would be a further incentive for drivers to obey the rules of the road.
1714 die on SA roads over the festive season
But Howard Dembovsky, chairman of Justice Project SA, said he doubted that a demerit system would kick in soon.
“They have been saying the same thing for years. I would be very surprised if such a system were introduced by the end of the year.”
Dembovsky and the Automobile Association warned that the tally of 1714 holiday road fatalities was provisional and could end up as much as 30% higher.
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