Thursday, September 22, 2011

Speed Limit Should Stay and Traffic Officers do Their Work

Kgothatso Madisa

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele says that the Department of Transport is looking into changing the speed from 120 km/h to 100 km/h because he is convinced most road accidents in South Africa are caused by speeding drivers.

“The number of accidents in the country has reached crisis point,” says Ndebele.

According to Ndebele about 126 people have been killed on South African roads in the past two months.

“Studies in other countries such as Australia where the speed limit is 110 km per hour show that reduction in speed limit can save lives,” he added.

I applaud the minister for trying to find alternative ways of dealing with the high number of accidents on our roads, but he also needs to realise that reducing the speed limit will not make people drive any slower. Many people have been caught at between 140 and 160 kms and hour and some even more than that despite our speed limit being only at 120 km an hour.

The transport department needs to ensure that it has enough capacity to deal with various problems on our roads and there are enough staff members to manage the current traffic rules. There is also a problem with bribes on our roads – it is no secret that one can pay a bribe to a traffic officer after being caught speeding and they can be forgiven for all their sins on the spot without a fine or court appearance if the offence was too severe.

I am not the only one who feels the minister should implement what’s already there rather than create new traffic rules. While listening to Talk Radio 702 I was actually surprised by the mostly female listeners who called in to criticise the minister’s proposal saying there are bigger issues to worry about in South Africa.

Other listeners suggested that Ndebele should focus on the reckless driving of taxi drivers who overload their taxis.

The real problem that the minister should be focusing on is the inadequate public transport system which also slows productivity as many would get to work late because of long queues in taxi ranks. Many would also have to leave work early as they would rush to the shops before rushing to bus stops or taxi ranks as transport runs out before 7PM in most places.

Putco buses are also at the top of the list as most of our people lose their lives while travelling in these buses because their unroadworthiness. I have travelled in the buses and I should say, I pray each time I reach my destination.

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