TRANSPORT MINISTER OFFERS CONDOLENCES AFTER SPATE OF ROAD ACCIDEENTS

South African Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has expressed her condolences to the families and friends of those who died as a result of a spate of crashes on the country's roads at the weekend while wishing those in hospital a speedy recovery.

In one of the incidents, on the P68 near Highflats in KwaZulu-Natal Province, two vehicles were involved in an accident Friday in which seven people died and four people were injured and rushed to hospital.

"Although the precise cause of this crash is still under investigation, most of these crashes are characterised by speeding, overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic, hit-and-run and driving under the influence of alcohol and not wearing seat belts," the Minister said Sunday.

"We declared that road safety is everyone's responsibility, whether you are a vehicle driver, passenger and pedestrian, and our law enforcement officers are directed always to be on high alert, to be visible and to patrol all known hazardous areas."

She reiterated that road safety required commitment and dedication from everyone to move South Africa forward to a safer future. The government, through law enforcement agencies, will continue to ensure that we get rid of those who continue to cause unnecessary pain to families and hurt the South African economy.

The Minister said the government was in the final stages of finalising the National Road Safety Strategy, which would clearly articulate a road safety plan to fight the scourge of road fatalities.

"On the legislative side, our intention to introduce AARTO (Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences) is to address this situation by encouraging responsible driving habits and adherence to traffic laws amongst the motoring public," said Peters.

"AARTO is a system to deal with offenders who break the rules of the road. The main reasons for the system are to encourage compliance and allocate demerit points to traffic offenders. The intention is to reduce road crashes and, thus making the country's roads safer."

The AARTO system will classify traffic violations as infringements and offences, operate a uniform penalty system for traffic infringements and provide traffic offenders with an administrative process to deal with traffic infringements.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK