Layton Beard, spokesperson for the Automobile Association, said the problem of high fatalities on the country’s roads could not be resolved by the government alone. He said the public should play an active role in ensuring road safety.
However, this did not absolve the government from responsibility - it also had a role to play in curbing road fatalities. What was needed was for road safety to be inculcated into children from as young as the age of four years, he said.
“We have to teach children to be good pedestrians,” Beard said.
Another role government could play was that of meting out harsh punishments to people who have broken the law, he said. There were too many people who did not respect the rules of the road, and 98 percent of crashes were the result of human error, Beard said.
He expected that fatalities would be fewer this Easter weekend as the religious holiday did not coincide with school holidays, as it did last year.
Sifiso Shangase, provincial SA National Taxi Council manager, said they had already received requests from taxi associations for the organisation to come and do inspections on their vehicles to ensure they were roadworthy.
Shangase said he hoped the number of crashes would decrease this weekend. He also asked that drivers from other provinces respect the rules of the road when they come into KZN.
“We also urge passengers to not force drivers to speed on the roads just because they want to get to their destinations quickly,” he said.
Caro Smit, director and founder of South Africans Against Drunk Driving, said they expected the death rate would increase. She said spending money on road safety was cheaper than the cost of crashes on the economy. “We have to spend money in order to save lives and prevent injuries.”
N3 Toll Concession spokesperson Anita Heyl said they were prepared for large traffic volumes this weekend.
They expected traffic to increase from Thursday into Friday, and to taper down until there was another spike in traffic on Monday, she said.
N3TC traffic engineer Miles le Roux said: “N3 Toll Concession highly recommends road users plan their trips in order to travel outside of peak times. Do not leave your departure for your destination until too late in the day. With between 2 500 and 3 500 vehicles per hour expected to be on the N3 toll route at peak times, the risks and demands on drivers increase exponentially.”
Heyl said there would be no essential roadworks on the N3, especially at Van Reenen’s Pass and between Cedara and Mooi River. Only essential roadworks would be undertaken.
Last week, Transport MEC Mxolisi Kaunda laid out KZN’s Easter plans. He said the province’s executive committee had approved a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week shift system where officers would be visible at all times of the day.
“Research conducted by the Road Traffic Management Corporation indicates that 26% of crashes on our roads occur between 10pm and 6am, when the level of traffic police visibility has been reduced,” he said.
Kaunda said police would be monitoring crash hot spots and there would be a clampdown on pedestrians who jaywalk, and drink and walk.