Passing The Buck

SA Roads Authority passes the buck for the over 1200 road deaths in December 2012.  We have yet to see what happens in January to know the real toll of the festive season.

It is certainly true that road users are at fault but to simply say that is the cause of the carnage on our roads is being simplistic and indulging in denialism.

To put it in the words of a popular radio commentator, if we had law enforcement officers who are not corrupt and enforce the law, particularly the rules of the road, we would have many fewer deaths and injuries on our roads.  He quoted our December road deaths as being greater than the road deaths of New Zealand for the entire 2012.  Granted that NZ is smaller and has fewer kilometers of roads and fewer vehicles and fewer drivers, but if they had the same levels of non-compliance and non-enforcement as South Africa has, they too would have similar levels of accidents, injuries and fatalities.

So it all comes down to enforcement and compliance, starting at the lowest levels.  We should have much more stringent levels of compliance before issuing a new driver with an unrestricted licence, much higher levels of enforcement, less graft and corruption, at all levels of the transport system.  I’m old enough to remember when stopping on the line of a stop street instead of behind the line or worse still not coming to a full stop at a stop street, or crossing a solid white line or entering an intersection against an amber or red traffic light or even jay-walking, would result in an official rebuke, from a warning to a minor or significant fine, even to serious prison time and or a loss of licence, depending on the offence, yet today I see all these offences on a daily basis without any sort of official response.  And our record of death and injury on our roads shows that habitual non-enforcement and habitual non-compliance has consequences that go way beyond those seemingly petty offences.  The sad thing is we are given the same lesson every year and we do not seem to learn from it.

As drivers, we should know that there are consequences to breaking the law and those consequences should be visible on our roads every day.  Then maybe we would behave in a manner that would not result in all that death and injury because our road traffic authorities would be doing their job.  There would be less carnage on our roads and no need for our Roads Authority to pass the buck.  A Direct Democracy Forum administration would see to it, through the application of DDF policies,  that every road user respects the rules of the road, or suffers the consequences, before causing damage, death or injury to other road users. 

The buck stops at the ballot box

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