Festive season carnage demands overhaul of KZN road safety awareness measures
9 January 2017
The DA will call for a comprehensive overhaul of current road safety awareness measures by KZN’s Transport department after the province was ranked highest in terms of the number of vehicle crashes over the recent festive season.
The figures, which form part of a trend analysis by the Department of Transport released last week, also saw the province placed third worst in terms of road-related deaths during the same period. Drinking and driving were cited as the main cause of these crashes. Meanwhile, incidents involving taxis were also up from December 2015 with more unroadworthy vehicles also discovered than before.
The DA is deeply concerned by these figures. It is clear that current efforts by KZN’s Department of Transport are not having the desired outcome, an issue compounded by ongoing shenanigans within the province’s Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) which have led to a dysfunctional and inefficient service.
We have made numerous recommendations to MEC Mxolisi Kaunda and his predecessors on how to deal with both internal and external issues, all of which seem to fall on deaf ears. These include;
- An intensified Traffic Awareness Campaign throughout the year and not just during holidays. The department’s current measure of distributing glossy leaflets at Toll Plaza’s during peak holiday season have proved grossly ineffective.
- Visible traffic policing – which must include random alcohol testing – again throughout the year.
- Special courts for offenders so that cases are speedily processed and finalised within a month of the incident
- Stiffer sentences including the suspension of driver licenses, mandatory treatment and counselling for those who drink and drive, increased fines and jail terms. The same strict punitive measures for those who text or talk on cell-phones while driving since this also diverts and impairs driver capacity.
The DA also firmly believes that KZN’s Education department has a critical role to play in terms of ensuring that the study of traffic rules and regulations becomes an integral part of the school curriculum in order to orientate young people to respect the traffic laws even before they obtain their driving licenses.
Without effective traffic law enforcement, our laws are meaningless. Swift prosecution, more stringent and appropriate punishment and fines would go a long way in arresting the current situation dramatically.
The DA expects MEC Kaunda to report back to the provincial portfolio committee at its first meeting of 2017 on how his department plans to turn the current situation around. Our roads must be made safer for road users.
Issued by Rafeek Shah, DA KZN Spokesperson on Transport, 9 January 2017