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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

December road safety: Accidents cost SA R188 billion per year – Mbalula

Mbalula called on motorists to abide by the law this festive season and ‘uproot the cancer’ of drunk driving.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula implemented the 2022 Festive Season Road Safety Campaign on Thursday to “prioritise and promote safer road usage during the high peak season”.

Mbalula said the purpose of the campaign is to “ensure smooth flows of traffic and prevent reckless driving, crashes, injuries and deaths”.

December 2022 Road Safety Campaign

This year’s road safety campaign will take place under the theme, ‘It Starts With You’.

Mbalula’s hope is that the initiative will “emphasise that road safety is a collective responsibility”.

He said 2022 also “marks the first year of normal activity since the declaration of the state of national disaster due to Covid in 2020”.

Obey the law

The transport departments and its officials will “remain resolute” in their efforts to reduce the carnage on the roads this December, the minister added.

Motorists and pedestrians should abide by the laws of the land and “conduct themselves in a manner that undermines the rights of others to use the shared road space”.

Failure to do so could result in “loss of life and limb on the roads”, Mbalula added.

Photo: Minister Fikile Mbalula

He said: “More than 90% of accidents can be directly attributed to the human element, which invariably relates to the violation of traffic rules”.

“It is of paramount importance that we tackle the drivers of fatalities on the road.”

Losing R188 billion per year

He called on motorists to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant over the festive season as road crashes place a huge financial burden of over R188 billion on the economy per year.

He placed the blame of increased road activity on migrant workers, saying “they make their way home away from the cities where they earn a living, crossing provincial and national borders, resulting in congested roads.

“This places tremendous pressure on our roads and requires heightened law enforcement to ensure every road user reaches their destination alive.”

ALSO WATCH: ‘Ramaphosa not infallible or beyond criticism’ – Mbalula

Live ‘Beyond December’

Finally, Mbalula called on South Africans to remember “there is life beyond December”.

Beyond December children must go to school, workers must get back to the task of enabling economic productivity, and life’s ambitions must be fulfilled”.

The transport minister said the upcoming festive season is a time when “many travellers take to the roads having had one too many while others conduct themselves recklessly, placing the lives of other road users at risk”.

Instead, December should be used to get together with families, take a break from school and work, relax and recharge.

New tech

Mbabula said officials will use new automatic number plate recognition technology.

Photo: Minister Fikile Mbalula

This will be used to “determine whether trucks and buses travelling on identified routes comply with road regulations”.

He said nationwide multidisciplinary task teams have been set up to check the roadworthiness of trucks and buses along all main routes.

Drinking and driving

Mbalula had a stern warning for motorists to keep road safety in mind at all times.

Those who believe they could get away with breaking the law and driving under the influence of alcohol – or those who believe they could bypass the law by bribing enforcement officials.

He said: “Our anti-corruption efforts will focus on these wayward motorists and those officials who solicit bribes”.

Driving under influence is a “cancer we are determined to uproot if we are to make a difference in making our roads safer”, Mbalula concluded.

NOW READ: Goodness, it’s already December

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