27 December 2012

South Africa: Department of Transport Concerned About Festive Season Death Toll

press release

The Minister of Transport Mr. Dikobe Ben Martins is concerned about the number of people who have lost their lives on our roads since the beginning of the festive season.

Minister Martins and his deputy, Ms Sindi Chikunga are receiving regular daily updates from the Road Traffic Management Corporation about the situation on the country's roads.

"The reports we have been receiving thus far are cause for concern. It cannot be considered normal that despite all efforts by government, private sector and civil society to enforce the rules of the road and raise awareness about road safety, we continue to witness the loss of lives on our roads at this scale," says Minister Martins.

Over 1000 people have so far been reported as having died due to road crashes since 1 December 2012.

The Minister has warned habitual road transgressors that their days of misbehaviour are numbered. He says their dangerous actions will soon catch up with them. The Minister has already instructed law enforcement officers to adopt a zero tolerance approach when dealing with offenders on the road.

"Those who drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs must be locked up for they pose a danger not only to themselves but to society as a whole. Those who speed beyond set limits must be removed from our roads for their irresponsible actions threaten the sustainability of society," says Minister Martins.

Unsafe and dangerous overtaking, driving under the influence of alcohol and excessive speeding have been identified as the major causes of fatal crashes.

"There's nothing that's worth your life that cannot wait. Take a minute and think about your loved ones who will bear the brunt of your loss. Do not find yourself on the wrong side of the law and/or even history if you happen to survive," says Minister Martins.

Minister Martins says there's a serious and urgent need for a national dialogue about the current state of affairs regarding road fatalities.

"Each individual needs to reflect on what their role is or should be in ensuring safer roads. While government will continue enforcing the law and reviewing the current legislation where necessary, other sectors of society need to come to the party and play a role in dealing decisively with the challenge we face," say Minister Martins.

The Department will in the coming year unveil a new Road Safety Partnership that seeks to forge a common national approach to the fight against road carnage. The Partnership will include government at all levels and state owned companies, private sector and civil society.

Issued by: Department of Transport

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