The initial road death figure has been released.
Since the start of the Easter holidays, around 100 people have died in 80 accidents. The final figure will only be available tomorrow at around 14:00, but, chances are, it won’t be a pretty picture.
I wonder about this phenomenon every year. I’ve now come to a point where I actually refuse to go anywhere over peak seasons, because it’s too much of a hazard to hit the roads. I consider myself a safe driver, but it all comes down to whether you trust the guy in the car next to you, or the car behind you. You simply don’t know if he/she is as aware of their surroundings as you are.
I can’t help but wonder when our road death numbers will start to go down. Is there a strategy that can help, or is it a case of a government not caring about something as insignificant as people dying in road accidents.
Yes, they make all the right noises at the right times. On Sunday morning I came across a few press releases from various government institutions expressing their concern. “We can’t let this go on for any longer. We must do something. We’re saddened by the loss of life.” Blah blah blah.
It’s the same old diatribe year after year. People die, the government sympathises, but by Tuesday it’s business as usual. You may see one or two attempts at making SA’s roads safer, but I consider these publicity stunts designed to subdue the press.
In my opinion it starts with proper driver training. The young people in SA get a few lessons from a private driving school, after which they spend around 30 minutes in a car with a government official. This official checks the basics, and, if you pass, you get a license. I I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that no more than 24 hours are dedicated to receiving a license in SA.
If the 24 hours seems a tad long, you can always bypass the system and buy a license. We all know corruption is a massive issue. Why do it the right way, when you can just as easily slip an official R500 to ensure a pass. Who cares if you can pull away at a slope? As long as the driving instructor has a few extra bucks for his/her lunch. It’s not like the people up top are setting a good example…
I honestly believe that corruption is the main culprit behind the high road death figure. It’s just too easy to get a license and too easy to bribe a police officer if he catches you. The same can be said for people who are pulled over for speeding, or for driving a car that’s nowhere near roadworthy.
The death figure will only decline once something is done about corruption. People need to know that there will be serious consequences if they don’t obey the law. Until then, it’s basically a free for all.