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Wake up, SA drivers!

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Wake up, SA drivers!By their own overwhelming admission (88 percent), South African drivers believe compliance with the laws of the road has worsened over the past two years. And, according to a survey conducted by the Automobile Association (AA) in April, nearly 75 percent of people also believe the attitude of motorists towards one another has deteriorated over this period.

The results of the survey form part of ongoing research by the AA into driving conditions, driver attitudes and driver behaviour on the country’s roads. Just under 1 000 people were polled for this survey.

“These results are actually quite breathtaking, as they seem to indicate, once again, that most motorists believe the problems on South African roads are someone else’s fault. This attitude implies not enough motorists are taking responsibility for their actions, which is worrying,” the AA notes.

According to the results, just over 55 percent of motorists nationally believe visible road policing has also declined, with only 13 percent of respondents saying they think it has improved since 2015. 

“A more pragmatic approach is needed to deal with the issues on our roads. Road safety doesn’t only reside with traffic officials; the entire justice system needs to be involved to ensure offenders are aware there are punitive consequences for their actions. And, road users must also play their part. It seems too many are shirking their duty to be responsible motorists,” the AA laments. 

It is also believed that road conditions have slid since 2015. Close on 61 percent of the nation’s motorists said overall road conditions have deteriorated over the past two years, with common problems being potholes, missing or damaged road signs and faulty traffic lights.

Overall road conditions, however, appear to be better in the Western Cape; 29 percent of respondents in this province said road conditions were getting better, compared to 38 percent who said they were getting worse. In Gauteng, only 10 percent said conditions were improving, while 67 percent said they are getting worse.

Faulty traffic lights are also a major cause of concern, adding to congestion and traffic problems. Among the respondents, 45 percent said the situation with faulty traffic lights is worsening, while 40 percent said the situation remains unchanged. Close on 13 percent of respondents said the situation is improving.

“This survey again highlights that too many drivers believe road traffic laws don’t apply to them, which, when combined with what is perceived to be lower police visibility, is perhaps part of the reason for our country’s high road fatality statistics. Unless driver attitudes improve, in addition to more effective policing, the carnage on South African roads will continue unabated,” the AA concludes.


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