Comment by John Robbie

How could we lower the carnage on our roads, South Africa?

An email from Tony came through and it says:

“Hi John, I listen to your show every morning. We’ve just returned from the USA, where we did a lot of travelling in 9 states and we didn’t see one accident in all of our travels. Road users obey the rules of the road, traffic lights work, there’s no blocking of intersections and pedestrians do not jaywalk. It was a pleasure to travel in a country where people obey the rules of the road. Something will have to be done in South Africa so people obey the rules of the road.”

A simple email and we’ve had it often from people who travel. We’ve seen it ourselves in other countries – recently we were up in Livingstone in Zambia, doing that outside broadcast. Again, the level of driving and courtesy on the roads as well as the lack of litter was one thing that we commented on – people drive there like they understand the dangers. And the facts are that 15 000 people a year are killed in South Africa – that’s four times the reported deaths from Ebola and look at the panic that that has caused all over the world.

44 people were killed in Marikana and it’s a massive issue. Reeva was shot by Oscar, Anni Dewani was murdered allegedly by this conspiracy involving her husband – the whole country is on the edge of its collective seat, following the case.

We’ve interviewed minster-of-transport after minister-of-transport and we’re all told in those bored voices that they ‘take road safety seriously’, and yet the carnage continues. Why is that?

We all know what has to be done: stricter law enforcement both on drivers and vehicles, education to change attitudes and I’d have reflectors to protect pedestrians and I would also bring the speed limit down, but I know that’s not unpopular. It’s not rocket science and other countries have made massive progress.

Our road safety record is a thundering disgrace. And if you think about it – and this is what really annoys me – if we really took it seriously, it would represent a massive success story that would affect all of us and reflect well on the government and the country. Why we just ignore it is one of the great mysteries of our time – John Robbie

Listen to John’s Comment in full below:

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