KZN Easter road death toll – DoT must roll out mass ‘pedestrian education’ campaign

Democratic Alliance media statement by Rafeek  Shah, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Transport

 

KZN Easter road death toll – DoT must roll out mass ‘pedestrian education’ campaign

 

The Democratic Alliance will today call on KZN Transport MEC, Mxolisi Kaunda, to urgently roll out a mass province-wide campaign – which must include SAPS, Traditional Leaders and the Provincial Health, Social Development and Education Departments – which is aimed at educating pedestrians on the dangers of the road.

The call comes following the release of the country’s Easter road death toll which was 510. KZN emerged as the province with the highest number of deaths at 111.

The DA is extremely saddened by this figure. It represents the loss of fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, children and grandchildren. While we acknowledge that the figure is for the entire 12-day period school holiday period – rather than in the past when it was for the four day Easter weekend – it remains staggering and it is clear that current preventative measures by the Department of Transport (DoT) are not working.

Of particular concern are the country’s overall pedestrian death toll figures for Easter which account for almost 40% of all deaths, with an increase from 33.8% in 2017 to 37.3% this year. According to National Transport Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, there was a noticeable shift towards the rural poor who often use the roads as pedestrians.

Given these figures and the fact that KZN is a largely rural province, the DA believes a pedestrian focused campaign would go a long way in reducing the road death toll in our province. Such a programme is particularly relevant for communities living close to or along main roads and highways.

The DA will also call on MEC Kaunda to follow through on his commitments to increased visibility and proper law enforcement during peak periods in particular. The fact that tyre blow-outs were a significant contributing factor to accidents over Easter means that people were driving vehicles with bald or defective tyres which did not meet the minimum established standard. Effective law-enforcement would have ensured that vehicles with faulty tyres were pulled off the road while increased visible policing would have taken care of speedsters.

We will also reiterate our request to the MEC that the DoT engage with the Department of Justice regarding additional punitive laws governing traffic violations. It is critical that there be dire consequences for drunk drivers and the DA would recommend that in the case of fatal crashes there be a charge of culpable homicide with the driver’s license removed immediately. Drunk driving accidents that do not result in a fatality must also be regarded as an unbailable offence for a specific period so that the culprit experiences some time in prison.

The provision of a safe road network for citizens forms the core mandate of the province’s Transport Department. The DA will continue to hold the MEC and his officials to account until such time as the horrific road death toll is reduced.

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