23 December 2012

South Africa: Transport Minister Calls On Motorists to Prioritise Life

press release

The Minister of Transport Mr Dikobe Ben Martins appeals to motorists traveling on South African roads to prioritise life above personal convenience and festivities associated with this season.

Minister Martins says if each motorist aimed to save a life each time they got into their vehicles, the nation would make considerable progress in the fight against road carnage.

765 people have since been certified dead on our roads since the beginning of the festive season. Minister Martins has sent his and government's heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives.

"Despite all efforts by government, private sector and civil society to curb the road fatality rate, we continue to see the loss of lives on our roads, sometimes in situations wherein fatalities or even crashes could have been avoided," says Minister Martins.

We have witnessed in the past 23 days or so horrific crashes where people lost their lives due to negligent behaviour such as dangerous overtaking, excessive speeding at night and during poor weather conditions, poor following distances; drinking and driving and walking.

Seventeen of the major crashes we have recorded since 1 December 2012 were head-on collisions due to dangerous overtaking.

Fourty-six percent of people who die on our roads are pedestrians. The department of Transport has since launched and is implementing a campaign targeted at pedestrian safety called "Think Pedestrian."

"It is unacceptable that we continue to lose lives at this rate despite all attempts by government, private sector and civil society to raise awareness about road safety. We need a 360 degree turn in driver attitudes if we are to succeed. People need a rethink of their responsibilities towards a safe and sustainable society," says Minister Martins.

Government at all spheres will continue to exercise its constitutional responsibility of enforcing rules of the road during and beyond this festive season.

"I call on traffic officers not to compromise when dealing with transgressions of rules of the road. They must deal decisively with acts of reckless and negligent behaviour on our roads. Anyone who's caught breaking the law must face the applicable punishment as prescribed by legislation," says Minister Martins.

Minister Martins says dishonest behaviour and corruption among officers will not be tolerated by the government.

"Law enforcement officers must realise that they are sometimes the only difference between a lawless society and a nation that lives by the letter and spirit of its constitution and the applicable laws of the Republic. Any act of dereliction of duty on the part of any officer has potential consequences, sometimes even fatal," says Minister Martins.

The Minister pleads with motorists to take personal responsibility for what happens with their cars on the road.

Road safety is everyone's responsibility.

Issued by: Department of Transport

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