Motorists are used to getting fined for bad driving - but now you can be rewarded for driving well, and responsibly.
On Monday Andrew Cupido from Strandfontein became the first driver in the Western Cape to be awarded R25 000 - for driving well.
Transport MEC Robin Carlisle handed over the first of two R25 000 road safety prizes to Cupido.
The Safely Home Road Safety Reward campaign was initiated to encourage safe driving, change motorists' road behaviour and ultimately decrease road deaths.
Motorists are randomly selected from the province's database of 1.6 million licensed drivers.
Using an internet-based programme, officials from Carlisle's department draw 20 numbers and find the corresponding numbers on the traffic and licence eNatis database.
Some of the criteria which finalists have to meet include being fine-free for at least 24 days when their name is selected, the vehicle must be licensed in the Western Cape, the driver must have no outstanding warrants and the driver must be a South African citizen with a valid licence.
In the draw for the second winner which took place on Monday, the first finalist was a Harley-Davidson rider.
PASSING ALL THE CHECKS
Carlisle said he was interested to see whether the motorcyclist would pass all the checks since motorcycle accidents are the only category where deaths have increased in the past few years.
The winner of the second prize will be announced at the end of February.
Cupido, 54, has been a licensed driver since 1978 and passed all tests when he was selected as one of 20 finalists. At first he thought the award was a hoax.
“I feel honoured to receive this and to be recognised for being a safe driver,” he said, once he'd been convinced it was genuine.
“To be chosen out of all the millions of people, I feel really privileged.”
He said the money would be put to good use for his daughter Samantha's wedding.
Carlisle said: “We ran this campaign to reward some of the good guys and recognise them for contributing to safety on our roads.”
Meanwhile the department said the provincial road death toll decreased by 28.4 percent in four years, from 1739 in December 2008 to 1245 last month.
“EXPENSIVE PUBLICITY STUNT”, SAYS ANC
Meanwhile, the ANC described Carlisle's reward scheme for well-behaved drivers as an “expensive publicity stunt”, paid for by taxpayers.
While the cheque was being handed over in Carlisle's Dorp Street office, Cobus Grobler, the ANC caucus spokesman in the legislature, slammed it as “another tata ma chance lottery” which had “absolutely no effect on people's driving behaviour”.
“Carlisle and the DA are engaged in a publicity stunt to score cheap political points,” Grobler said. “The reward scheme won't reduce carnage on the province's roads.
“It doesn't encourage anyone to be a better or safer driver and is a complete waste of taxpayers' money.”
“EXACTLY”, SAYS DA
Carlisle hit back, saying the campaign was indeed a publicity stunt to “ensure safe driving and reduce fatalities. This is a very important campaign and an incentive for people who obey the rules of the road.”
Grobler said Carlisle should instead be pumping funds into getting more traffic officers on the road.
All of the 1.6 million licensed motorists in the province were automatically entered into the draw. - Cape Times, Cape Argus