The Department of Transport plans on revitalizing its road safety programmes following a spate of major roads accidents MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda said this would entail increasing investment in road safety education and awareness campaigns.
“We must also intensify our collaboration across all law enforcement authorities, building on what we have already started. Furthermore, we will have to implement the National Road Safety Strategy, which was approved last year by Cabinet,” said Kaunda.
KwaZulu-Natal recorded a 10% reduction in road crashes and fatalities in the last festive season holiday but suffered greater losses in the last Easter period.
KwaZulu-Natal recorded 111 fatalities during the Easter holidays, followed by Gauteng with 89 lost lives and Limpopo at 80. In these crashes, motor vehicles accounted for 44.6% followed by bakkies at 21.2%. We need radical strategies to end the road carnage.
“In our pursuit towards a collective approach to road safety, we have formed partnerships with organisations such as the Road Freight Association, the Interfaith, and other Private Sector entities. Our outreach to young people has been enhanced by the establishment of the Provincial Youth in Road Safety,” he explained.
Through the youth structure, the Department has been able to reach and create awareness amongst young people in schools and places of higher education and training. We have also partnered with municipalities on creating safe crossing for children in schools. This programme has created 191 job opportunities.
In addition, there is a need to eliminate fraud and corruption at Driver and Learner Testing Centres (DLTCs).
“We also need to improve road safety data systems and research to inform tactical interventions and enhance the use of technology in road safety improvements. We also want to engage the Department of Transport to review speed limits to suit road environments and align to international best practices,” said Kaunda.
“We continue to work towards achieving the 24-hour law enforcement coverage during peak periods, and night-time to early morning when most crashes occur. There are currently consultation processes led by the Road Traffic Management Corporation RTMC) and involving Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration, on the 24/7 law enforcement coverage, and overtime. A provincial task team has been established to assess the state of readiness for the implementation of the 24/7 shifts system,” added Kaunda.
The Department, will this year invest in various safety improvement measures on hazardous routes. These include building the Gumatana Bridge in Umzumbe, where scores of people died in a crash nearly two years ago; improving and broadening the M13, where 24 people were killed in a truck and minibuses’ crash in 2013, are also underway. Further long-term plans will be announced in due course on other hazardous routes across the province,” said Kaunda.