A research project has found that taxi drivers often don’t know what the speed limit is.
The research on taxi drivers was recently conducted by Dr Thinus Booysen, a senior lecturer at Stellenbosch University. The project involved taxi drivers covering long distances between Cape Town and the Eastern Cape.
Booysen found that taxi drivers were often ignorant of the 100km/h speed limit that applied to taxis and buses.
When the drivers were questioned about the speed limit, most claimed their limit on the route was 120km/h.
The drivers also blamed the passengers for their speed, saying that they encouraged them to drive faster in order to get to their destinations on time.
Drivers would also drive faster if they were not the owner of the vehicle.
Speeds were about 10km/h higher if the driver did not own the taxi.
He also found that the taxis contributed proportionally little to road fatalities.
“Although taxis do travel at a faster speed than required,” Booysen said, “they often travel at night when roads are deserted and are therefore not the cause of the high road death toll.”
The maximum speeds recorded frequently exceeded 140km/h on almost all segments of the route, with a maximum recorded speed, across all taxis and segments, of 159km/h.
Minibus taxis make up only five percent of all the vehicles on the road and were involved in eight percent of accidents; these however, led to less than five percent of road fatalities.
Booysen suggested giving drivers shares or part ownership in the taxis, which would make them value the vehicle more. - The Mercury