Johannesburg - Lead SA says it is disappointed that the Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has failed in its promise to roll out a campaign to “Name and Shame” convicted drunk drivers despite various assurances to do so.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters yesterday told the media that over 600 people have lost their lives on the national roads since the start of the month. She called drunk driving a major contributing factor to the death toll.
“We have received numerous promises from the Transport and Justice Departments, including the RTMC, to roll out the ‘Name and Shame’ initiative before the end of this year. Despite all the assurances, we are well into the festive season and we are still seeing people die unnecessarily on our roads due to drunk driving,” said Lead SA.
“We have in addition received every conceivable excuse for the delay and the latest is legal concerns, which we thrashed out with the Justice department long ago. To say it is an issue again is disingenuous,” Lead SA added.
The “Name and Shame” campaign was successfully piloted in the Western Cape almost two years ago and showed a significant reduction in drunk driving in that province. As early as February last year, Lead SA approached the relevant authorities to extend the initiative to the rest of the country.
The Department of Justice subsequently forwarded the list of convicted drunk drivers to the RTMC in August this year.
“There seems to be little will to bring down incidents of drinking and driving despite attempts from the private sector and NGOs to strengthen initiatives to do so.
“Therefore we do not accept any reason why the RTMC is unwilling to release the names.
“We need drastic action to make our roads safer, action that involves all sectors of society,” said Lead SA.
The organisation called on the RTMC to release the names of convicted drunk drivers urgently.
“It is in the interest of the public, especially a public whose members abide by the rules of our roads and want to reach their destinations safely. If we can deter motorists from getting behind the wheel drunk, we would have tackled one of the major reasons behind our staggering road death toll.”
Other contributing factors to road fatalities includes speeding, not wearing seatbelts and overtaking other vehicles dangerously.
“We all need to join hands and ensure that we bring down the number of fatalities on our roads. Far too many lives are being lost.
“The RTMC and the Transport Ministry should take this challenge seriously,” said Lead SA.
Pretoria News Weekend