Plan to allow metro cops to stop and re-test drivers

The transport dept wants to introduce a system allowing metro cops to stop drivers and test their skills.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Transport Minister Dipuo Peters on Wednesday said government is in talks to soon introduce a system where metro police officers can randomly stop motorists and retest their driving.

Peters said this would rid South African roads of people who have driver's licenses but who can't actually drive.

On Wednesday she released the road fatality statistics for the 2015 Easter weekend which reflected a dramatic increase, rising to 287 from 193 last year.

Peters said sometimes a person can be in possession of a driver's license for over five years but still lack the ability to drive properly due to lack of practice.

"We are going to do random spots and pick up people for retesting for driving."

Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) CEO advocate Makhosini Msibi said the National Road Traffic Act empowers traffic officers to do this.

The Transport Ministry and RTMC said more than half a million new drivers have been given licenses since January this year which is a contributing factor to the rise in fatalities.

At the same time, Justice Project South Africa's Howard Dembovsky said authorities can't continue to use the same methods to stop the carnage on the roads and expect different outcomes.

"What is sorely lacking in South Africa is two things: our enforcement, which doesn't exist and secondly is evaluation. We keep on trying the same things and they don't work."

South African National Taxi Council President Philip Taaibosch is equally concerned about the increased fatalities but said authorities must simply continue to educate motorists.

"We should not overlook the efforts that the minister is putting in. We should continue preaching the road safety road awareness endeavours in the country."

Most fatalities were caused by drunk driving, unroadworthy vehicles, speed and dangerous and negligent driving.

The majority of fatalities recorded were in KwaZulu-Natal with 55, followed by Limpopo with 44 and then Gauteng with 38.