While the role of the Road Accident Fund (RAF) is important and has been a major life-changer for those who have been drastically affected after a car crash, it might be time to consider another way to lessen the financial strain on the institution. This is the opinion of Eugene Herbert, MD of advanced driver training company MasterDrive.
His comments come amid the increase in the general fuel levy of 52 c/litre, 30 c of which will go to the RAF. According to Herbert, the RAF has a massive backlog of claims which actuaries estimate will be at R355 billion by 2020/21.
“It is time for various stakeholders in the road-safety sphere to come together and find a way to reduce the number of crashes that occur in the first place,” he notes.
“Instead of forcing innocent victims to wait lengthy periods of time for payouts, which they may be depending on for adequate quality of life, we need to start looking more extensively at prevention rather than cure.
“Various organisations have the potential to contribute positively to this challenge. Rather than decry the inadequacies of a system, which is under great pressure in this country, we can start rectifying the root of the issue before we even need to claim,” Herbert says.
The economic difficulties created by South Africa’s high crash statistics also extend far beyond the RAF. “Just one example is the insurance industry. Reducing the number of crashes on our roads can impact large portions of this industry. Short-term insurance can benefit from initiatives like training, and long-term insurance, such as life protection, can benefit, too,” says Herbert.
“The challenges faced by the RAF are echoed in many organisations in varying degrees. There are innumerable examples of industries which stand to benefit from a reduction in fatalities and injuries on our roads. If corporate and training bodies tackle this challenge together, the difference that can be made will also be innumerable,” Herbert concludes.