Clear flaws prevent the ANC government from effectively managing road incidents

Issued by Dr Chris Hunsinger – DA Shadow Minister of Transport
28 Nov 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Dr Chris Hunsinger MP

The National Portfolio Committee on Transport was recently given an update on the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s (RTMC) efforts to deal with the increased traffic volumes and minimise festive season road crash incidents.

Currently there are slightly over 33 000 traffic officers to 12 964 430 vehicles on a 750 000 km road network. It should therefore come as no surprise that there are more traffic incidents overall. The challenge in making progress in this area is, on the one hand, a shortage of pertinent data and, on the other, turning that data into a strategy that will have an influence over the long run as well as for short-term initiatives like long weekends and holiday seasons.

While the RTMC presents a wider range of data in its presentations as claimed proof for decision-making, little information regarding the real causes of the crashes – as opposed to merely their quantity – is shared. Information should be used for more than merely calculating the quantity of traffic accidents, fatalities, and injuries.

The Webfleet Survey results were included in the South Africa Road Safety Report of 2022, which concentrated on road safety and the trucking industry. The report found that 33% of truck collisions are caused by other road users and 21% by distractions, with using a cell phone while driving ranking highly among survey respondents’ top concerns regarding driver behaviour. Vehicle-mounted cameras have revealed proof of drivers texting or conversing while operating a truck.

40% of all road fatalities occur each year as a result of pedestrians, according to government data obtained from the RTMC. The DA also voiced alarm at the increased amount of pedestrian activity along the main routes, noting that this is not being monitored or given priority by general law enforcement.

The DA believes that if the African National Congress (ANC) and national traffic agencies such as the Road Traffic Management Commission (RTMC) gave law enforcement priority over unroadworthy vehicles, poor road conditions, and the intolerable lack of policing, lives may be saved. The DA also brought up several issues, including ones related to driver fatigue, unlicensed drivers, overloaded trailers, excessive driving hours, reckless/negligent driving, unauthorised passengers and stops and driver intimidation, to name but a few.

Being the first in South Africa to outfit about 800 traffic officers with body cameras, the DA-led City of Cape Town’s Metro law enforcement has pioneered a substantial contribution to improving safety on their routes. Furthermore, 300 patrol cars will have dashboard cameras installed to promote safer driving environments for both law enforcement and civilians.

We trust that everyone using the roads, including those who must deal with an increase in traffic, has a safe and enjoyable trip over the festive season. Although we may be the owners of the vehicles we drive, everyone has the right to use the roads.

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