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Cape limit: Readers' emails

2012-09-06 08:37
A good way to reduce road deaths or another blow for Slaapstad drivers? Wheels24 readers sent a virtual blizzard of e-mail responses about the Western Cape plan to slash all speed limits.

The Western Cape Provincial Road Traffic Bill calls for a raft of changes, including a blanket 10km/h reduction of all speed limits. And the rest of the country shouldn't be chuckling - it could happen to them, too.

Our initial story sparked an outcry from Western Cape drivers.

We've had an amazing response in Readers'  Comments and e-mails, not to mention readers who took it upon themselves to write articles on the bill and its possible effects.

Strangely, the only person of importance who HAS NOT replied to Wheels24's request for comment is the minister himself, Robin Carlisle. Are you there, Mr Minister? Or are you overwhelmed by the antipathy to your ideas?

Here are some of our reader's articles:

Cape speed limit: Louis-Jordaan
Cape speed limit: Miquette-Calsen
Cape speed limit: JC-Smit
Cape speed limit: Kelly Lodewyks

Read the original story here.

Below are some of our readers e-mails:

Francois Roux

How anyone could consider this as a way to save lives is beyond me. Let me tell you why, everywhere you drive people are simply ignoring every single rule of the road that’s so religiously being taught in the so called K56 driving tests.

Here’s a few that I see every single day just on my way to work between Goodwood and Paardeneiland;
1) Driving in the yellow lane
2) Crossing over solid white lines
3) Crossing solid white and yellow lines before and after on and off ramps
4) Not stopping at Stop streets
5) Another 3 or 4 cars keep driving through intersections AFTER the light has turned red or the arrow has stopped signalling
6) People simply weaving in and out of traffic without using indicators whatsoever
7) Undertaking, as opposed to overtaking
8) Driving cars that I wouldn’t even transport a dead horse in
9) Driving while talking on a cellphone
10) And the list goes on...

Every day is a gamble to drive to work and back and get there alive, not because people speed, but all of these infractions occur when it’s peak hour traffic.  I’m not saying people don’t speed sometimes, but by and large the vast majority of infractions are not speed related. People just don’t give a damn about any traffic rules.

And here’s what I’ve been saying to people for so long, you can do whatever you want on the road, you can ignore every single rule there is, as long as you are not going to fast while you’re doing it. Because that’s what the authorities makes it look like. You don’t enforce any rules other than having a bunch of cameras up or having a cop wasting away his day behind a mobile camera to catch speeding drivers. Maybe every once in a while the camera also checks for red lights, but that’s in the minority of cases.

Honestly, you will reduce road fatalities by 50% if you just enforce the other rules, that you the government created, that are in the book. And not just line your pockets by catching people for speeding.

Reducing speed limits in my eyes counts as regression and the governments acknowledgement that South Africa is regressing. Enforcing ALL of the other rules of the road in my eyes does count as progression.

I am completely opposed to the reduction of speed limits and 100% for the enforcement of all of the other rules as much as speed is being enforced.

Oliver Laubenheimer

Mr Watters,

I find the idea of a blanket reduction in speed limits ridiculous !
Driver attitude and habits are what need to be checked and managed. Firstly, start with the basics of teaching and
instilling proper driving habits at the point of getting a license. Secondly, manage properly the habits and antics of
professional drivers in their mobile missiles aka trucks, buses, taxi’s. Enforce current laws !
What difference will 10km/h make on a person who is using a mobile device while driving, driving an unroadworthy vehicle,
blatantly disobeying other rules of the road,  etc.

I was driving on a 2 lane highway on my way to venice, Italy not long ago. There were literally hundreds of trucks on the road,
ALL of which miraculously occupied only the right hand lane (slow lane in Europe). Not one truck ventured into the fast lane, allowing

all cars to travel unobstructed and smoothly, while the trucks were crawling at a walking pace. They understood that one truck
not following the rules will cause EVERYONE to suffer as a result.
a relative of mine was driving 200 km/h on a german autobahn, and had an accident. Why ? because a truck driver was pouring himself a cup of coffee
and his articulated truck wandered into the fast lane, pushing her into the barriers. The truck driver has lost his license and will not drive again.

There is no study supporting the notion that reducing an already safe speed limit will reduce the accident rate. I would love to see data of
all accidents and their true causes and then express as a percentage those that were caused by nothing else other than driving at 120 km/h on
an open highway.

Why does a taxi get away with reversing into my Mercedes ? the driver shrugs his shoulders with an “eish” exclamation, and that is the last I heard.
I have to cough up the excess on my, luckily existent insurance policy. Start enforcing European style laws that make insurance compulsory for everyone.    

Yes, I agree, speed kills… when and where applied excessively or irresponsibly. The only speed related accidents I hear of are those where a driver
was speeding recklessly at well above the allowed speed limit. Reducing the limit any further wont do a thing ! it wont stop an idiot wrapping his car around a pole
at 180 km/h.

I AM in favour of certain revisions to speed, for instance 50km/h in suburban, small streets (same as in Europe) , but change roads like the R27 (otto du plessis)
back to 70 or 80 km/h. extreme reductions near schools etc are a positive ! all professional vehicles including taxis need an enforced speed limit of max 100.  
I am amazed at the lack of respect by motorists at other road users like cyclists and

A blanket reduction is an attempt at a fix, of doing something yet achieving nothing. It is an ill conceived perception of a solution at the expense of the commuter.
I think a more comprehensive and thorough solution is necessary, perhaps starting with basics, at the beginning.


Has this proposed change been statistically and scientifically calculated to be proven to have the desired effects? …or is this a reactionary knee jerk response by a victim?

It is a good and a bad idea.

1)    Speedsters will still speed, at their original speeds, except now the DIFFERENCE IN SPEEDS between vehicles involved in accidents will be greater, leading to accidents being more dramatic/violent.
2)    Pedestrians, who generally in this country have NO CONCEPT OF THEIR PRECARIOUS POSITION OR THE RULES OF THE ROAD, would be further lulled into a deeper sense of security and entitlement, only making a speeding car even MORE LETHAL.
3)    If motorways are kept clear of cattle, goats, potholes, unroadworthy vehicles, pedestrians and vehicles that CANNOT maintain 120km/h, then there would be no reason to reduce speed limits. Why are there no MINIMUM SPEED LIMITS maintained on motorways?
4)    I fully agree with a reduction in high pedestrian zones, however, not all urban areas should be classified as such. This would just be causing unnecessary inconvenience. How about instituting PEDESTRIAN CONTROLS!!! Pedestrians never obey any rules and endanger their own lives! Drive down Wynberg Main Rd during office hours! Its pedestrian chaos! A car doing 60 or 30 will still kill a pedestrian that walks in front of it!
5)    Is this simply another underhanded taxation attempt? Sies!
6)    More traffic calming areas like circles and speed bumbs would FORCE speed reduction, even for the speedsters. Otherwise your speed limit reductions are only effective when there is a cop standing there holding a radar, and THAT is only effective when vehicle license plates are present, valid or not stolen. Currently only the law abiding get and are forced to pay the fines.
7)    Have you considered the cost of signage changes? The 5% of the population that pay 90% of the tax can do without further blood letting.

Mark Elkin

I would like to voice my disagreement with the proposed new speed limits, with specific reference to the 120km/h and 60km/h dropping to 110km/h and 50km/h. I however feel that reducing speeds near schools and around pedestrian areas is a good idea with safety in mind.

New cars are designed to drive safely at 140-160km/h and there is no need to reduce the speed, as the current perpetrators of the 120km/h limit will not slow down, and they will continue to speed. Us the normal citizen will get the brunt of the effect with increasing of traffic, higher fines, getting to the destination slower, possibly causing more unsafe roads as you will get people speeding and cutting in between cars that are driving at 110km/h.

Rather spend the money enforcing our current road laws better than bring out new laws, that won’t effectively be enforced.


Dear Sir,

Is it not time to back these ex cathedra announcements with facts.By now there must be records of speeding fines drunk driving offences these should be correlated on a computer and see if what proportion of those fined have ever been involved in any sort of accident.then admit this is purely a money grabbing exercise

Arthur Ambrose
Dear sir,

I am NOT old, only 60 on the dot, I still love driving at 140Km/h when I get the chance or when I’m late because that’s where my car runs at it’s best although I will mostly endeavour to stick to the speed limits.

I visited my 2 sons in Australia, one in Sydney and then drove from there with a rented car at max speed of 110Km/h which is allowed on the New South Wales highways and 60Km/h through towns & cities up to Gladstone, some 1600Km north all along the coast, As soon as you cross over to Queensland the highway speed max is 100Km/h and through towns & cities only 50Km/h.

I must be very honest to say that I loved driving at those speed limits, definitely a person would not even think of exceeding the speed limit as you will most definitely be caught within 10 K’s. When there is an accident in Australia and people are critically injured, it will be on most TV news channels. The death toll throughout the whole of Australia during their festive seasons barely reaches 20 and then it’s all over all TV News channels.

It can work for us as well but then we need DISCIPLINED DRIVERS on our roads and it need to be CONTROLLED MORE EFFECTIVELY – otherwise we can abort all efforts.
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