DURBAN: 050315 Accident PICTURE: GCINA NDWALANE
DURBAN: 050315 Accident PICTURE: GCINA NDWALANE

SA roads among the world's deadliest

By Kamini Padayachee Time of article published Oct 27, 2015

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Durban - With the holiday season approaching, South Africa has been rated among the most dangerous places in the world in which to be on the road as drivers continue to flout the rules.

The World Health Organisation’s Global Status report on road safety for 2015, released last week, showed South Africa’s road death rate stood at 25 deaths per 100 000, which had been calculated from statistics supplied by the Road Traffic Management Corporation for 2011. This was just below the average figure for Africa as a whole, where there were 26 deaths per 100 000 – the highest in the world.

These figures were considerably higher than the world average of 17.5 and more than twice the European average of 9.3.

The report said South Africa had the highest percentage of alcohol-related (not drunk driving) road deaths of 58 percent, based on a 2010 mortality report, compared with similar countries. It noted that 1.2 million people died on the world’s roads each year, and almost half of all deaths were pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists.

Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesman Simon Zwane said the rate of deaths in South Africa was still high and enforcement needed to be stepped up.

“There is a high level of awareness, but it is not matched by appropriate behaviour. If people know what to do and are not doing it, then it’s time to bring out the stick.”

He said the corporation was looking at several measures including lowering speed limits and blood alcohol levels and hiring more highly trained traffic officers.

FOUR OUT OF 10 FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT

The national transport department also intended implementing a demerit system in 2016 that would see errant drivers losing their licences for offences including speeding, drunk driving and driving unroadworthy vehicles.

The report showed the country did not score higher than four out of 10 for enforcing laws related to drunken driving, speed limits and the use of seat belts.

Zwane said statistics showed most accidents generally involved young, inexperienced and mostly male drivers, and efforts were being made to make the group more cautious on the road.

Global Road Safety Partnership South Africa chairman Sebastian van As said apart from the number of people killed, road accidents had a devastating effect on the country’s economy. More than R200 billion, or 7.8 percent of the country’s GDP – calculated from the 2013 figure – was being lost because of accidents. The high rate of accidents was due to road users not following the rules and the lack of enforcement.

The road safety awareness organisation, Drive More Safely’s director, Alida Jones, said the country had good legislation for road safety, but enforcement was a serious challenge.

“South Africa has become a lawless nation where many will do anything to get out of a trouble. Bribery and corruption play a big role and need to be stopped for enforcement to be effective.”

The Mercury

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