Association says recommendations by the Traffic Law Enforcement Review Committee must be applied without delay
The Automobile Association (AA) has lent its support to recommendations made by the Traffic Law Enforcement Review Committee (TLERC) – and it warns that government’s failure to implement the measures as quickly as possible will amount to a serious dereliction of duty.
Established in 2016, the TLERC was tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of traffic law enforcement in South Africa. The findings were released earlier this year.
“There are several key recommendations from the committee’s report, which we not only endorse, but are anxious to see implemented. In fact, we believe a failure to implement these as soon as possible will result in more deaths on our roads,” says a spokesman for the AA.
He says the AA believes the findings and recommendations of the TLERC will be presented to the Board of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) before the end of the year, and to the minister of transport and MECs early next year.
“The Review Committee is quite clear that the current model of traffic law enforcement in South Africa is ineffective and needs changing. Not a moment should be wasted by these entities in reviewing the recommendations, accepting them and implementing them.
“With an average of 13 500 deaths on our roads annually – at a cost to the economy of R162 billion each year – the recommendations could result in a realistic saving of lives and money, so there is no room for dithering,” the spokesman says.
Recommendations which the AA supports include:
- The professionalisation of traffic law enforcement and the creation of an independent professional body for traffic law enforcement;
- The creation of a single traffic police service for South Africa, which should be introduced in a phased manner over a defined period of time;
- An increase in funding and resourcing for traffic law enforcement. The Review Committee notes that “it is apparent that the current numbers and resources are grossly inadequate”, and that the country needs, at least double the number of traffic officers it currently has;
- The adoption of a Graduated Driver Licensing System (GDLS) with a 24-month probationary period for new drivers;
- The introduction of driving as a subject in schools for Grade 11 and Grade 12 learners;
- The redesign and updating of the K53 Driving Test with an emphasis on practical on-road driving;
- The enhancement of outreach and public education initiatives to improve driver behaviour;
- The creation of national regulations for vehicle towing companies;
- Compulsory annual roadworthy tests for all vehicles older than five years;
- Significant increases to penalties for distracted driving infringements such as using cellphones.
The spokesman says the AA is encouraged that its own recommendations – and that of other organisations – were included in many of the findings. “This represents a serious effort by the TLERC to include the inputs of civil society organisations – an effort which has been lacking in the past.
“While there are some recommendations in the report with which we are at odds – notably those relating to the implementation of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) – those we have highlighted, and several others in the report, are practical, no-nonsense recommendations that will have an immediate impact on road safety. The government cannot afford not to implement these urgently,” the spokesman says.