'It's YOUR fault you're dying'
HUMANS AT FAULT: Transport minister Ben Martins claims humans are at fault when it comes to road fatalities.
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PRETORIA - Most road deaths are caused by irresponsible human behaviour so people need road-safety education, national transport minister Ben Martins claims.
The Justice Project, however, said he was talking rubbish.
Martins said on Sunday (Dec 10 2012) at the launch of a Christmas holiday road safety campaign that "the human factor" accounted for 82.2% of road deaths during the 2010 and 2011 year-end holidays.
Speeding, driving after consuming alcohol, tiredness, unroadworthy vehicles and drunk pedestrians were blamed for most of the human culling. "This," Martins said: "meant law enforcement officers were not solely responsible for curbing accidents but that road users had to make a conscious decision not to break the law on the road.
"We should place more emphasis on education, public awareness and compliance with the law. "The road-safety campaign should become a daily pre-occupation."
The Justice Project SA, however, has described Martins' statement as "horrifying".
Its chairman, Howard Dembovsky, said: "Given the fact that very little traffic law enforcement for moving violations other than speeding takes place in South Africa, it is ridiculous that such a statement should be made.”
He said if traffic policing did not improve "we will not see a 50% reduction on road deaths by 2020". "You simply cannot excuse improper and corrupt traffic -aw enforcement by saying 'people should comply voluntarily'.”
Martins said his department would work closely with, among others, the Road Traffic Management Corporation, the Road Accident Fund, the Cross-Border Road Traffic Agency and the Road Traffic Infringement Agency and "prioritise roads where there were high accident rates".
RTMC acting CEO Collins Letsoalo said "poor human behaviour" had been noted when traffic cops were not usually on duty. Most fatal accidents happened between 10pm and 6am, Thursday nights to Sunday mornings. He did not specify, given the absence of traffic copsy, who was doing the "noting".
He was sure most fatal collisions over Christmas and New Year would be "head-ons" because drivers "insisted on driving even when they were tired". He also warned where NOT to drive: the country's most dangerous road was the R61, on the N6 between the N2 and Oslo Beach, south of Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.
Traffic cops would be visible and ready to arrest anybody who drove illegally, he threatened.