Johannesburg - When noting the kamikaze tactics of some road users, I often wonder how I’d fix things if I was transport minister for a day. Not to suggest it will take just one day to change an ingrained culture of bad driving and ineffective enforcement, but there are things I’d install as a starting point.
For starters, I’d use speed traps as part of a holistic road safety strategy, not a replacement. Currently far too much effort is placed on measuring motorists’ velocity while a slew of other unsafe driving practices are largely ignored. It’s created the unhealthy perception that as long as motorists drive slowly, they can do little wrong.
This perception is being further fuelled by insurance company smartphone apps that reward motorists for driving and accelerating slowly, and for not being distracted by their phones, but fail to deter them from a raft of other driving misdeeds.
I have no problem with the good intentions behind these apps and they can have a role to play in saving lives, but there’s simply too much that they can’t measure - things that traffic officers can.
In addition to mobile speed traps and licence-checking roadblocks, I’d make traffic officers do a lot more policing of moving violations such as crossing solid white lines, changing lanes without indicating, tailgating, hogging the overtaking lane, driving in the emergency lane, shooting through red lights and stop streets, and all the other rogue behaviour that takes place even when the speed limit’s not being exceeded.