The Traffic Law Enforcement Review Committee (TLERC) has published a review of traffic enforcement in South Africa outlining a number of proposals it believes will make the country’s roads safer.
The TLERC was established by former minister of Transport Dipuo Peters in 2016 to conduct a comprehensive review of traffic law enforcement, and to develop a future design for it.
Responding to the findings of the review, the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) said in a statement on Wednesday (27 November) that there are several key recommendations from the committee’s report which it endorses and wants to see implemented with urgency.
It said that a failure to implement these as soon as possible will result in more deaths on the country’s roads.
The association said it 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 in early 2020.
“The review committee is quite clear that the current model of traffic law enforcement in South Africa is ineffective and needs changing,” it said.
“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.
“These recommendations can result in a realistic saving to the economy so there is no room for dithering on this report.”
Among the 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 created 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 amount 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 while driving.