Ask transport department deputy director general James Mlawu about the main reason for the appalling carnage on our roads and he'll tell you bluntly: “The attitude of South African drivers.”
According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation about 14 000 people are killed on the country's roads each year and thousands more are injured in crashes that cost the country R300 billion a year.
Speaking on the sidelines at the second road safety conference in Boksburg on Tuesday, Mlawu said: “It seems to me a large majority of our drivers do not realise that driving on the road is a privilege.
“It's a space we all share and therefore there has to be consideration for others.”
“You can't behave as if you are alone.”
Mlawu said it would be a long road for drivers to change their attitude, but it was a battle worth fighting.
“We need a perception in this country that it's the court that has to find you guilty, you have to have the conscience to say: 'I am with other people in this space, let me be considerate'.
“The battle is on across South Africa, but we still feel not enough is being done.”
Mlawu said other factors, such as the conditions of the country's roads and the roadworthiness of vehicles, were also part of the government's focus as they formed part of the United Nations' campaign to reduce road deaths.
Globally, 1.2 million people were killed in road accidents each year, he said, and the United Nations general assembly had proclaimed the next decade as one of action for road safety. - Sapa