OPINION: ‘Critical road rules must be openly enforced’

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DEAR Editor,-

The absolutely shocking and unacceptable road accident statistics and driver incompetence and negligence needs much more than government and provincial authority theorising and limited response.

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One sees and reads about speed limits, speed trapping, traffic officer visibility during holidays, and drink and drug offences – all well and good.

But the one glaring omission is that the safety aspect is not being enforced. A great number of drivers don’t know or don’t adhere to the rules of the road – and traffic officials don’t either.

A few glaring examples are:

* Keep left pass right is very often ignored and it’s frustrating and dangerous – only a few highways have these signs and they should be on all double lane roads.

* Nervous, slow, hesitant drivers are dangerous and there are many of them – are driving schools and testers really that ignorant? Or just lazy?

* A good percentage of the public and traffic officers use cell phones whilst driving – isn’t this illegal ? Why isn’t prosecution openly enforced?

* Certain road users blatantly create extra lanes and break many traffic laws in heavy traffic – no visible traffic enforcement.

* Reasonably competent car control should be part of the driver’s test. But testers and traffic officers would have to be specially trained for this. Why? Cars are lethal weapons in the hands of reckless drivers.

* Stop streets, crossroads, four-way stops and traffic circles all have rules that should be enforced – many accidents result because they are not.

Authorities clearly have little experience in these matters and need to obtain instruction/assistance from overseas (little chance of that, unfortunately).

In smaller European countries where there is more traffic than ours, highways have no speed limits, yet accident numbers are far fewer and cars travel at over 200kph on these freeways.

How? They are properly trained and don’t have ‘speed wobbles’ at 25 kph like so many of us.

Recently a woman was driving in the middle lane on a three-lane highway in Gauteng when she suddenly realised she had missed her exit. She should have continued to the next one, but what did she do?

She stopped in the middle of a busy highway and was narrowly missed by several vehicles, including a huge articulated truck with smoke pouring off its tortured tyres as it tried to slow down.

NEIL WHITEHEAD

Umtentweni

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