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KZN wants law to make taxis safer

THE KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance is in talks with the government to enforce the rules allowing only experienced and legal taxi drivers to take to the road.

The plan is part of ongoing efforts to create a "safer taxi industry" in the region.

It is aimed at curbing the high number of road deaths and daily accidents on provincial roads.

KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance chairperson Gerald Ferror said the regulations were similar to those enforced by the bus industry.

"We want operators to only employ drivers who are over 25 years and who have had their public driving permits for two years," Ferror said.

"We are in discussions with the provincial government about the matter."

He said the alliance also wanted to hold further talks with national Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele and the South African National Taxi Council.

"One of the ideas is to create a credible database of all registered taxi drivers so that their experience and legality can be verified," Ferror said.

He said the meeting must also make sure that the industry was "legalised and that illegal taxi operators were weeded out".

He said as the province and country prepared for 2010 a safe and reliable public transport industry, especially the taxi industry, was crucial.

"We know that every day accidents on the province's roads involve minibus taxis and on a regular basis and many are fatal," Ferror said. "We want to make sure our industry's name is not tarnished as we head into 2010.

"Our international visitors will not be as forgiving about the road accidents as the locals are."

Ferror said talks were also under way with a major motor manufacturer to create a safety academy for taxi drivers. The academy would teach taxi drivers defensive driving skills.

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