Transport Minister Ben Martins has urged motorists travelling on South Africa's roads during the festive season to prioritise life above personal convenience, the department said on Sunday.
“Minister Martins says if each motorist aimed to save a life each time they got into their vehicles, the nation would make considerable progress in the fight against road carnage,” the department said in a statement.
“765 people have since been certified dead on our roads since the beginning of the festive season. Minister Martins has sent his and government's heartfelt condolences to the families of those (killed).”
Martins said that despite all efforts by government, the private sector and civil society to curb road deaths, South Africa continues to see lives lost on its roads.
Often the situations that cause the fatalities and crashes could have been avoided, he said.
“Seventeen of the major crashes we have recorded since December 1 were head-on collisions due to dangerous overtaking,” the department said.
The department stated that with 46 percent of all road fatalities being pedestrians, it had implemented a pedestrian safety campaign.
Martins said it was unacceptable that lives continued to be lost despite efforts to raise road safety awareness.
“We need a 360-degree turn in driver attitudes if we are to succeed. People need a rethink of their responsibilities towards a safe and sustainable society,” he said.
Martins called on all traffic officers to not compromise when dealing with transgressions on the road and to deal decisively with reckless and negligent road behaviour.
He stated that corrupt traffic officers would not be tolerated by government.
“Any act of dereliction of duty on the part of any officer has potential consequences, sometimes even fatal,” said Martins. - Sapa