Editorial comment – Watch those infringement notices

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It is a concern that over 80,000 traffic infringement notices (TINs) were issued by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in 2020. LTA CEO Flagon Bekker confirmed the figure.

Speaking before the Standing Committee on Social Affairs regarding LTA’s 2014-2017 annual reports, Mr Bekker said 64,126 offenders held full licences while 16,230 were provisional licence holders.

This number dropped in 2021, with 57,280 fully licensed and 16,124 provisional drivers copping TINs.

“Largely speaking, as the number of vehicles increase, the percentage of these infringements will increase,” he explained.

He pointed out it was a continuing trend linked to demographic profile. Work continued, he said, to create awareness through grassroots training at schools.

“We are visiting more than 100 schools per annum and helping them understand to keep our roads safe and one way we do that is by collaborating with police and municipalities.”

The high number will attract attention and probably raise the question of accountability and whether drivers actually took heed of good advice.

We wonder whether awareness programs are actually working at all for the wider public base.

And there is the issue of appreciating safety on our roads, and whether drivers are concerned about the welfare of other road users.

It does raise the issue of common sense as well and how much we are prepared to listen to advice.

Do we truly appreciate road safety, or do we even listen when awareness campaigns are initiated around the country?

Every year we talk about road safety. We discuss challenges, and we talk about overcoming road accidents.

In fact we put together campaigns targeted at everyone from the driver, passengers to the pedestrian. Yet every year we continue to have road accidents.

Then there are drivers who will have no second thoughts about breaking the rules daily. Some of them will pull out their mobile phones and answer calls while driving.

Some will send text messages, and some will change lanes without switching on their indicator lights.

Some will take their time fixing broken brake lights, and some will not switch their headlights to low beam when approaching other vehicles at night.

Some drivers will overtake a vehicle on a bend, and some will zoom past well over the 60km or 80km speed limit rules. Some drivers will put up their windows and beat the traffic, zooming past vehicles during peak hours, leaving behind frustrated and angry drivers and commuters.

But this is the reality we live with. Road accidents happen because we allow them to. Yet we all know road accidents can be prevented.

The challenge for us is always going to be based around responsibility.

That’s when we should learn to appreciate and adhere to road rules, use common sense, be aware of danger spots, embrace defensive driving and have some concern for the welfare of other road users. Now that’s the big picture!