Longer jail terms for road offenders

File picture: Timothy A Clary / AFP.

File picture: Timothy A Clary / AFP.

Published Jan 21, 2016


Cape Town - Government was considering stiffer penalties and minimum jail sentences for those committing serious traffic offences, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and her justice counterpart Michael Masutha said on Wednesday.

“Despite a number of interventions, engagements, educational and awareness initiatives aimed at changing the behaviour and the attitude of our road users, road users continue unabated in disobeying the rules of the road,” the ministers said in a joint media statement following a meeting on Tuesday.

Festive season road carnage up 14% 

The meeting concluded that the high death toll rate in South Africa necessitated a number of interventions that needed to be considered. “A very disturbing reality was recently confirmed by the festive season report which depicted that human factors contributed the most to the crashes, with many collisions occurring as a result of jay-walking, speed that was too high for circumstances, overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic, hit and run and driving under the influence of alcohol,” the statement read. “This unwarranted and undesirable state of affairs cannot be left unchallenged.”

The proposed interventions included that those arrested for serious road traffic offences could no longer be granted bail by a police official prior to their court appearance.


The meeting between the two ministers also mooted the idea of a minimum mandatory sentence of at least two years for those found guilty of serious traffic offences. “Equally important was a deep soul searching consideration for imposition of heavy penalties and or fines for traffic offences,” the ministers said.

The re-classification of serious road traffic offences and the roll-out of dedicated traffic courts would also be considered. “We remain resilient and determined to leave no stone unturned in eradicating and seriously reducing the carnages, fatalities and lawlessness on our roads. The rule of law should at all material times reign supreme in our country.”

This past festive season, 1755 people were killed on South Africa's roads - an 11 percent increase from the 2014 festive season death toll.

African News Agency

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