Regular vehicle testing on the cards
Pretoria - Regular testing of vehicles and improving testing standards for driving schools will be some of the major measures that South Africa will need to introduce in order to address road safety, says Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin.
"The truth of the matter is that in South Africa, a vehicle gets tested once only when the owner decides to sell it and vehicle testing in other countries is an annually practice which has proved successful to address road safety," Cronin said at the start of a Road Safety Conference in Pretoria on Tuesday.
He insisted that while testing vehicles on a regular basis could prove costly and labour intensive, the price the tax payer was paying as a result of accidents remained "unacceptably high."
"Obviously there would be challenges ... there will be costs but the costs of not doing anything could be even higher," he said, adding that South Africa can turn the tide on road crashes like many other developing nations have done.
Human error is said to be the cause of more than 90 percent of road accidents in South Africa, with officials saying the figure was likely to increase if no drastic policy measures were introduced.
At least 151 people died in road accidents over the Easter weekend. While most of these were blamed on driver behaviour, Cronin did acknowledge that the poor state of some of the country's roads, especially in rural areas, was a problem that needed to be addressed.
"Most of our problems on the roads, particularly in rural areas, have to do with maintenance ... Lots of the problems are found among basic things like maintaining water drainage systems and the issue of potholes," he said.
Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi earlier called on partnerships between communities and law enforcement agencies to address the problem.
Road safety was not just one thing, it included infrastructure, taking responsibility and enforcement. "So all of us need to put our hand on the deck to address the problem," he said.
The conference, which is being attended by delegates from most of the SADC countries and the World Bank, is organised by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC). It seeks to highlight the scourge of road death in South Africa and the continent.
Delegates have been urged to come up with strong recommendations for governments regarding road safety. – BuaNews