The festive season is meant to be a happy time of year, where everyone has finished work and is able to reconnect with their families. Unfortunately, many do not make it back home when the festive season ends, as this is also the time of year where there are the most road accident-related incidents.
While some are attributed to driver fatigue, car faults and accidents caused by other drivers, many are the work of drunk driving. This has become such a large problem that the Traffic Law Enforcement Review Committee (TLERC) in South Africa has decided to outline various proposals it believes will make the country’s roads much safer.
The TLERC was established in 2016, by former Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters, and aims to conduct a comprehensive review on Traffic Law Enforcement, and develop a future design based on the faults found in the review.
The Automobile Association (AA) responded to the TLERC’s review findings, and has highlighted several recommendations it would like to see implemented with urgency.
According to the AA, the failure to implement these measures as soon as possible will result in more deaths on the country’s roads.
“The review committee is quite clear that the current model of traffic law enforcement in South Africa is ineffective and needs changing,” it said. “Not a moment should be wasted by these entities in reviewing the recommendations, accepting them, and implementing them. With an average of 13 500 deaths on our roads annually – at a cost to the economy of R162 billion each year.”
It is reported that the AA believes the recommendations and findings of the TLERC will be presented before the Board of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) before the end of the year, and will be reviewed by the Minister of Transport and various MECS in the early months of 2020.
“These recommendations can result in a realistic saving to the economy so there is no room for dithering on this report,” the AA said.
Among the recommendations the AA supports include the following:
– The creation of an independent professional body for traffic law enforcement purposes exclusively, as well as the creation of a single traffic police service for the country
– Increased funding and resourcing for traffic law enforcement
– The implementation of a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDLS), which includes a 24-month probationary period for all new drivers
– Driving being implemented as a subject in school for Grade 11 – 12 pupils
– Updating and redesigning the K53 Driving Test, and emphasise practical driving more
– Setting up national regulations for vehicle towing companies
– Enforcing annual roadworthiness tests for vehicles