South Africa has recorded a massive increase in road crashes with multiple fatalities at the mid-point of the festive season, resulting in 17 crashes this year, compared to seven over the same period in 2020.
According to the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula, there is a great concern about the high number of major crashes, where five or more people perish in a single incident. However, now the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has called for new speed limits to be implemented as part of an effort to reduce the number of fatalities on South Africa’s roads.
South Africa was listed 13th out of 195 countries by a number of road deaths, with 28.2 road deaths per 100,000 population according to a January 2020 study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Herald Live reports.
Plans are already in place to reduce the speed limits in urban areas, particularly around schools and areas where cyclists frequently cycle, the RTMC says. RTMC chief communications officer Simon Zwane indicated that the implementation of the new speed limits are recommendations made by the United Nations (UN), who argued that countries with high road fatalities should consider decreasing speed limits by 10km/h, Top Auto mentions.
Zwane said the UN has called on governments worldwide to lower speed limits to 30km/h in areas where people walk, live, and play.
Speed limit changes the RTMC wants to implement are:
- Urban roads – From 60km/h to 50km/h
- Major roads – From 120km/h to 110km/h
If the implementation is successful, it will be the second time that the Department of Transport is considering reviewing speed limits since 2019. Meanwhile, the RTMC also looks to introduce a number of additional road adjustments that could potentially curb road fatalities, like drunk driving.
The RTMC will further introduce an online license payment on the Natis online booking system. This new development is designed to enhance online renewals and bookings to create a seamless booking experience when using online booking services.
“These developments form part of measures designed in response to the COVID-19virus outbreak where the government has imposed strict regulations to curb the spread by encouraging members of the public to avoid crowded areas and maintain social distancing,” the RTMC said.