File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

Government slammed for not lowering speed limit

By BULELWA PAYI Time of article published Dec 22, 2019

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The government has been criticised for delaying the implementation of a plan to reduce speed limits to curb road deaths.

The Road Safety Action Campaign said it was deeply upset by reports that already there had been dozens of deaths as a result of road accidents on the country’s roads since the start of the festive season.

The December period is usually marked by an increase in road deaths as holidaymakers travel to various destinations.

Founder, Richard Benson said the planned reduction in speed limits would have helped bring the road death toll as a result of speeding down.

Benson said South Africa lagged behind countries such as Sweden, the UK and Australia which had a good track record in terms of speed limits.

“Our speed limits are way above those countries. Speed is the root cause of most accidents in South Africa and has also resulted in pedestrian deaths.

“We should not have delayed the implementation of the plan to reduce speed limits, even though it is still not the best,” Benson said.

The Road Safety Action Campaign had been calling for a reduction of speed limits since 2005. 

The government announced its plans to review the speed limits a  few months ago, with a view to implementing them next year.

“Failure to implement this immediately will cost thousands of lives, in most cases this could have been avoided. So at the end of the year we could expect the death toll to be as high as 18 00 for this year,” Benson warned.

A report released by the World Health Organisation, called the “Global Status Report on Road Safety”, showed that South Africa was ranked number 159 of the 175 countries surveyed. 

South Africa’s December road death toll is more than that of most countries annually and the cost to the economy of road accidents is estimated to be in excess of R164 billion.

A total of 1612 people died on the country’s roads between December 1 last year and January 8 this year.

Weekend Argus

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