ONCE again we have read about the horrific accidents and loss of lives on our roads over the festive season and this will repeated over the Easter holidays. A number of reasons have been put forward as to why this ongoing catastrophe occurs and I suppose it is a combination of most of them that is the cause.
Until such time as we get the heavy duty trucks (who dawdle along at their own pace) off the main roads the problems will persist. While there is no "quick fix” solution, there is one which I think may contribute to bringing the numbers down.
Unlike in a lot of European countries, most South Africans have to travel a long way on the roads (because of the lack of public transport) to reach their holiday destinations, so come the second half of the trip, fatigue starts setting in and they become careless. How about the government using some of the "drive safe campaign” budget (which is not working) to set up a free coffee/tea stop along the main roads?
These stops would be at approximately two-hour intervals and the only condition for a free "cuppa” would be that the driver must leave his/her vehicle and consume the beverage at the "kiosk” (in other words take a break and stretch the legs). With regard to the cost of this exercise, I am sure that given free advertising/publicity large shipping firms would donate/rent out those large metal containers to be converted into kiosks, and the same could apply to suppliers of coffee, tea, sugar, cups, etc.
A possible "extension” to this idea would be to have permanent roadblocks just before the stops so that the police on duty could suggest to motorist that they take a break and take advantage of a free drink, before proceeding on their journey. This in turn could be used as a tool for cementing the relationship between the police and drivers.
Tony Bennett, Port Elizabeth