News / Africa

South Africa Struggles to Reduce Road Fatalities

South Africa Struggles to Reduce Road Fatalitiesi
X
January 29, 2013 1:44 PM
After yet another deadly holiday season on South Africa’s roads, the government is calling on citizens to do more to prevent accidents - especially as more than half the accidents were linked to alcohol use. The country ranks among the worst in the world in highway safety, with 40 people dying every day in road accidents. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from Johannesburg.
South Africa Struggles to Reduce Road Fatalities
After yet another deadly holiday season on South Africa’s roads, the government is calling on citizens to do more to prevent accidents - especially as more than half the accidents were linked to alcohol use.  The country ranks among the worst in the world in highway safety, with 40 people dying every day in road accidents.

Driving while intoxicated

It's an ordinary Friday night in Soweto, a township in the south of Johannesburg. The officers in charge of taking blood samples to measure alcohol levels can barely keep up with the influx of seemingly intoxicated people arriving at the station.  At a nearby roadblock, 15 people were arrested in less than two hours for driving under the influence.

The national Road Traffic Management Corporation says there were 1,279 road deaths between December 1 and January 1 - citing drunk driving as the main cause.  And it says 40 percent of the fatalities involved pedestrians who were walking on the road while drunk.

Every year, 14 000 people die on the road in South Africa.  The World Health Organization says the country ranks among the world's worst in road safety.

Gary Ronald, of the Automobile Association of South Africa, says the government must do a better job to educate the public.

"More information, more education, not just at schools. It has to be in the general public space. And we certainly don't get that. I would for one would really like to see a road safety program education, information, on all channels of media, every single day. That has not happened. Not for the last 20 years it has not happened," he said.

Unsafe driving conditions

Alcohol is not the only threat on the roads here.

On one main road linking a township to the city center, hundreds of people cycle to work every day, weaving between the cars.  As more and more South Africans become affluent enough to drive their own cars, there is a difficult co-existence between cyclists and autos on clogged roads.  

The South African government is not ignoring the problems.  In 2011, it launched a national campaign to cut the number of road fatalities in half by 2020.  

Enforcement, alleged corruption

Minister of Transport Ben Martins says one element in the campaign is to tackle police corruption, which allows unsafe and unlicensed drivers and their cars to stay on the road.  Motorists here can often walk away free from a traffic offense by paying bribes.

"There are certain corrupt officials who would engage in the practice of  issuing or selling illegal licenses," Martins said. "So we are cracking down on that."

Martins says other problems include speeding, dangerous driving practices, failure to wear seatbelts and unroadworthy vehicles.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More