High number of road deaths cost R150-billion

THE Road Accident Fund is appealing to all road users to curb the scourge of car crashes and related fatalities that continues to place untold strain on the country. The warning follows yesterday’s release of the alarming festive season accident statistics by Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters.

According to the Road Accident Fund chief executive officer, Dr Eugene Watson, the per cent increase in road deaths was sad.

“The RAF, government’s consoling arm, has been hard at work during the holidays working with affected families and crash victims while providing all the necessary support. To the families, friends and colleagues of the more than 1 700 people who died this festive season, we offer our condolences,” said Dr Watson.

“To the millions of road users who remained alert while travelling, we thank you for heeding the RAF’s call to stay safe. The death of bread winners, heads of families, and economically active youth at the threshold of their lives, as well as innocent young children and toddlers, weighs heavily on our country, sets society back and harms our economy,” added Watson.

Drunken driving, speed, unroadworthy vehicles, fatigue, overtaking on barrier lines and failure to wear visible clothing at night are some of the main causes for road deaths, and all road users will have to pull together to stop the carnage.

He said road Safety remained a priority at the RAF and awareness is generated through: campaigns such as, ‘My Road Your Road’, which encourages road users to also think of others when making use of SA’s vast road network; educational programmes with taxi organisations, truck drivers, cyclists, athletes and children; and implementation of road safety measures with provincial authorities to prevent re-occurrence of road crashes.

“Despite its good intentions, including that of government and other transport entities, the RAF’s claims expenditure still remains unacceptably high at more than R32-billion per annum, where each rand paid is a painful reminder of the extent to which lives are lost and people seriously injured on our roads.

“The claims expenditure, coupled with liabilities of more than R150 billion, represent large sums of money our country could assign to valuable services and infrastructure if the war on road crashes is won,” said Watson.

Deshni Ramkissoon-Pillay

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