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Peters committed to reducing road carnage

Around R306 billion is lost to the South African economy annually as a result of road accidents.

Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters.

JOHANNESBURG - Around R306 billion is lost to the South African economy annually as a result of road accidents, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters revealed on Wednesday.

These costs include loss of manpower due to fatalities and injuries, medical services, cleanup operations and compensation paid out to victims.

Peters was speaking at a road safety briefing in Parliament, Cape Town.

The minister said there was a need for more visible policing to tackle unlawfulness on the roads.

Some 18,000 traffic officers patrol South African roads at present.

Peters says she has established a team to investigate sustainable interventions to curb the spate of road crashes in the country.

The team will review existing legislation under the National Road Traffic Act, road structural challenges and educational campaigns.

It will also raise awareness about road safety for motorists, pedestrians and passengers.

Peters joined Talk Radio 702's John Robbie show on Thursday to talk about the challenge that lay ahead of her and the pressure on her to succeed where all other ministers have failed.

ROAD SAFETY A CHALLENGE

Then minister said it would be a daunting task and that South Africans need to work together to do more.

She said there would be a Road Safety Summit on 4 and 5 October where she would call on all South Africans to partner with government.

Peters encouraged people to report road transgressions, road and safety system failures and weaknesses in engineering, education and law enforcement.

Robbie told the minister that appealing for common sense and education hasn't worked in the past and asked Peters if it wasn't time to implement unpopular measures if necessary.

CORRUPT DRIVING SCHOOLS

Peters said she would look into the area of roadworthiness in South Africa and the types of drivers our driving schools are churning out.

She said the task team is also going to advise her on what to do with driving schools who force people to take a test when they are not ready.

The minister said these driving schools encourage corruption by allowing people to buy their licences.

"A particular driving school told me that people learn to drive on the road after they have bought their licence. This is very dangerous and the biggest threat to road safety."

She said these driving schools must be shut down.

Robbie asked Peters to verbally commit to bringing the accident levels down by 25 percent and put her head on the block.

Peters replied that she will be meeting with roleplayers to hear what is suggested, post it onto a plan and hold it up against the decades of road safety of the United Nations to look at a reasonable target we can work towards.

She said after this engagement and at the end of October which is transport month, she would then be able to give a definite figure via a pledge from all South Africans agreeing to work together towards this achievable target.

The minister said all South Africans, including drivers, companies, pedestrians and passengers, street owners and law enforcement should be covered.

Peters said she was serious about bringing down the death rate, for the sake of the people of South Africa.

She asked people not to get impatient when law enforcement officials have road blocks or when licences are taken away from people who cannot drive as part of the plan going forwards.