The United States-based driver training group, Zutobi, was either being euphemistic or overgenerous when it released its research findings which concluded that South Africa’s roads are the most dangerous in the world.
Yet the elephant in the room – or, in our case, on the potholed road – was the fact that roads don’t kill people, people do.
So what Zutobi should have said, in a more forceful, yet far more accurate way, was that South Africa’s drivers are the worst in the world.
The conclusions of the research and the soft way it was stated will tap right in to the national South African belief that nothing is our fault.
Even when we are presented with manifest evidence that many of our drivers should not be let loose with a wheelbarrow, never mind a vehicle with an engine, we still try to blame something else.
Even now, there are many – including our own department of transport and the metro cops in Pretoria – who continue to describe Moloto Road as the “road of death”, when it should more accurately be called “the road of killers”.
South Africa ranked last in Zutobi’s list of 56 countries for a number of reasons, including its deaths per 100,000, its rate of accidents where alcohol is involved and the failure of most of its drivers and passengers – almost 70% of them – to wear seat belts.
And we all know the reasons why our roads are such charnel houses: the authorities fail to enforce the law.
Corruption is the default situation in the entire road legislation sector – from obtaining driver’s licences to the enforcement of moving and other violations.
Driver training is almost nonexistent because many people bribe to get their licences. Yet the government pats itself on the back for a job well done.
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