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'Most road deaths are preventable'

By Sibongile Mashaba | Dec 07, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

POLICE are ready to deal with motorists who break the law.

Yesterday Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele launched the new Arrive Alive festive season campaign and warned that the police were going to be tough.

The event was also to remember millions of people who have died on South Africa's roads.

Ndebele lashed out at the high number of accidents and said they could have been prevented.

"We cannot continue to treat road deaths as normal when we are facing death by design - death by human error, death through carelessness, drunkenness, all of which can be stopped," he said.

"Almost all deaths on the roads can be avoided because about 90 percent of accidents are caused by human error.

"Unroadworthy vehicles cause between 15 to 30 percent of our accidents and road factors contribute to about five to 20 percent."

Ndebele said according to the most recent World Health Organisation Global Status Report on Road Safety, 62percent of accidents occur in only 10 countries.

"The reality is if we continue today as we did yesterday ... if we continue today as if there was no urgency... If we leave things as they are, we will soon face a scourge."

"In fact, it is estimated that by 2015 road crashes will be the number one killer of children aged between five and 14 in Africa, outstripping malaria and HIV-Aids."

Ndebele told hundreds of people at Orange Farm in the Vaal that road deaths deprived children of parents and vice-versa.

He said the department would next year launch the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO).

Under AARTO a driver is given the opportunity to voluntarily surrender his licence by repeatedly breaking the law.

Every person would start with 0 points and the maximum permissible number of points is 12. When a person reaches 12 points his or her licence will be suspended for three months.

"We believe AARTO will change behaviour," he said.

Ndebele was joined by Gauteng MEC for safety Khabisi Mosunkuthu and Joburg mayor Amos Masondo, who laid wreaths at two crashed vehicles displayed at the meeting venue.


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