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Date : 27 September 2011

Women in Road Safety and its view on the proposed reduced speed limit

Women in Road Safety, a forum of The Road Safety Foundation, has reacted to Minister S’Bu Ndebele’s proposal to reduce the general speed limit from 120kph to 100kph. The forum points out that the existing speed limit for vehicles such as buses and taxis is already 100kph, and that many of the recent accidents involving public transport vehicles have been related to issues such as overloading and defective equipment, rather than speed alone.

"The death and injury toll in recent weeks due to accidents involving public transport vehicles has been horrific,” said Clare Vale, chairperson of the forum. "Our concern is that insufficient attention is being paid to policing the existing speed limits for this type of vehicle, and that the very real problems of unroadworthy vehicles, overloading and unqualified drivers will continue to wreak havoc on our roads.” She went on to say that although the Women in Road Safety forum supports any initiative that will assist in reducing the death toll on South African roads, there is a need to prioritise the areas where law enforcement officers could most effectively be deployed.

"As long as operators have a flagrant disregard for existing traffic legislation regarding passenger transport vehicles, combined with a lack of effective enforcement of these laws, we believe that reducing the general speed limit will not achieve significant gains for road safety,” Vale concluded. "There is already a great discrepancy in the number of fines issued for speeding, as opposed to more serious infringements, and this proposal will do little to improve the imbalance. However, the forum applauds the Minister’s recent blitz on public transport vehicles, which has seen numerous unroadworthy and illegally operating vehicles removed from the roads, and hopes that this level of zero tolerance will be maintained.”

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