Easter death toll: Jail taxi owners, licence cheats

  • Horror deaths, burned children, dead families
  • ANC government, get out of your convoys…
  • …and on to the roads and risk YOUR lives

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – The holiday roads of Easter 2017 in South Africa have soaked up the blood and family tears of, at the most recent count, (April 21 2017) the lives of 245 men, women and children.

When the mandatory 30-day waiting period is over the total, it is thought, could reach 370. The total for 2016 was also 245.

Perhaps family pets, too, though family dogs are not recorded.

And official figures supplied by the Automobile Association do not differentiate by sex and age – but as I am editing this feature (April 21) the radio has just announced that TWENTY young children have been killed, or were burned to death  in just ONE taxi crash.

It had a head-on with a truck. How stupid is that?

36 317 DEAD IN UK, BUT…

I once followed a school ‘taxi’ hauling towards Strandfontein way over the speed limit in a bid to get back to pick up more potential road statistics.

In Britain, taken as a comparison because of that country’s similar population and the fact that people there also drive on the left and that their road signs are also in English, a total of 36 371 people were killed.

Over 11 years from 1999-2010 – an annual average of 3300 or 275 a month or 68 a week. In South Africa, the 245 total only covers the four-day Easter holiday period – and we will never hear how many more are yet to succumb to their injuries through the next few months.

Or years.

HIGHEST TOLL ON RECORD

There is no knowing how many close misses there were in SA over those few days – but it is known that about half of the dead were pedestrians – many of them will have been drunk.

The SA Easter road toll is believed to be THE HIGHEST on record though perhaps, to be fair (as if so many deaths can be fair!), the booming population of SA-born and foreign nationals on our roads should be factored into the percentages.

Statistics on the Easter 2017 road fatalities, released by transport minister Joe Maswanganyi in Pretoria today, have been described by the AA as “cause for great concern”. They are NOT – they are cause for horror, for action from a paralysed government employing bribable, corrupt  traffic cops, and taxi and bus owners who really couldn’t care less.

WATCH THE STATISTICS

Those last can always find another driver, another taxi. Their coffers are filled. The dead will never come back. And yet again there will be a call for the government to “do something”.

And nothing will happen.

The AA statement added: “Not enough is being done to stop the carnage. Year in and year out we are given statistics that either stay marginally similar to those of the previous year, or, sadly, increase.”

One major issue, the AA said, was the continuing problems associated with people buying a driving licence instead of earning one; then there are fraudulent roadworthy certificates… for which taxi owners should be held responsible and be punished -especially when people are killed – with long jail sentences.

There should be an age – or experience – limit on any public service driver. Perhaps FIVE YEARS of accident-free driving. Anybody driving without a permit should be jailed.

FIRE THE TRAFFIC MANAGERS

The people at fault work in the Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation. They should be FIRED and people who really care put in charge, with a mandate to inflict maximum penalties on those handing out free licences and signing-off unroadworthy vehicles.

Those guilty of the latter should be shut down and never allowed to work or be associated with a roadworthy-test centre ever, EVER, again. Or be jailed.
Road blocks have their uses; only unmarked cars, on patrol, are really effective. Any taxi or other vehicle whose driver is guilty of a road transgression should immediately impounded.

For ever.

The AA also suggests: “Too often police target people for expired licence discs: that’s never going to affect the road toll. The officers should be deployed on the roads to monitor moving violations such as reckless and negligent driving.

“It needs to start NOW.”

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