It’s that time of year again – when we celebrate the idea of peace and goodwill towards all people. But then we go out and kill each other in droves.
We are not talking about the gun, knife and fist violence, which increases with the festive period booze intake. We are talking about the carnage on our roads.
Every year, we see a minister or police chief standing next to a roadblock on a major highway, wearing a high-visibility vest and droning on and on about the causes of crashes: speeding, drunken driving and unroadworthy vehicles.
There is some attention paid to recklessness, but the elephant in the room in this country is that the vast majority of people on our roads (drivers and pedestrians) know not that they know not when it comes to road safety.
In many cases, that is because the system to qualify as a licenced driver has become so perverted over the years that most documents are worthless if they are used as a way to gauge skills or knowledge of motor vehicles or the rules of the road.
Fake licences can be easily acquired and, for amounts as low as a few hundred rands, even the worst and most ignorant person can get a learner’s, and then a full driver’s licence and be allowed to legally drive on the road.
Road safety education is virtually non-existent.
It should be taught right from pre-primary school, to instill a working knowledge in children of how to behave. It should be expanded in high school and become such an important part of matric that a full pass will not be awarded unless the pupil has demonstrated good road knowledge.
With knowledge comes awareness and that in turn reduces the arrogance.
Without such a real road safety revolution, the carnage will only get worse.