23 April 2001Wrecks & Skeletons
that's been a thorn in the side for quite some time now - South African
Over the past couple of years we've seen the worst in roadrage and crime. Does it go hand in hand? I think so. It is a total lack of regard for the law that makes for bad and inconsidered drivers. The total disregard and respect for human life is fast becoming part of the "New Improved" South African's culture. This oviously stems from the barbaric acts that's so prevelant in the townships. Kangaroo courts and necklacing made sure that life is not worth much. With a judicial system like ours, where 2nd degree murder of 35 tourists in a bus crash gets you 6 years instead of life, and a rapist can get out on 600 bucks bail, what change does the normal everyday Joe Blogg have of making a decent living and surviving?
To give you some examples of what you will find on our roads: Taxi's that's not roadworthy. So not roadworty that doors can't close properly, steering columns are loose, lights are broken and disfunctional and above all this, overloading! Then we get to the way of driving. No stopping at stop streets (intersections) unless absolutely necessary, skipping red traffic lights, racing wherever we need to go. Yes, we! We've adopted the Taxi driving quite easily. By nature we're agressive buggers.
Then of course there is the law. What law really I ask? The a**holes that tend to hide away with speedtrapping equipment - 'cause that's the easiest way to make money! That is now of course excluding the traffic cops in Jo'burg who quite readily accept bribes from lawbreakers to avoid fines. And don't think for one second that I'm only refering to black cops.
Now what's the easiest way to avoid being trapped while speeding? Remove your license plates! Or even better, hide it! What's easier than blaming a towbar, or a license plate that fell off, or a spare wheel mounted quite conveniently over half the plate? The strangest of all is that most of these drivers / owners will quite readily tell you that the license plate is off to make it close to impossible to be prosecuted once caught in a camera trap. No license plate, no summons.
Now where the cops are getting clever is by visiting the local shopping malls. Here they are generally out of danger of being driven over or shot at. And they have all the time in the world to inspect shoppers' cars for bald tires, valid license disks and license plates of course. Just dandy, but why aren't they out there looking what reckless drivers are doing on our national roads?
I've been a motorcyclist most of my life. A driver that skips a red traffic light can be the end of a cyclist. What's the fine if caught? 300 Bucks - if caught! Traffic light cameras unfortunately don't have a long service life. Not with a couple of bulletholes in them. Even shotguns are being used on these devices.
Then there is roadworthiness (as mentioned before). Seems the manufacturers are so concerned with cutting costs (with the Rand now at R8.60 to the Dollar) and using the cheapest components possible. Especially globes. Drive around and take note of how many cars out there has disfunctional taillights, headlights, breaklights and especially indicators. Cutting costs could be very easy - eliminate indicators totally. Drivers don't use them anyway!
Coming back to the total disregard for human life - didn't the Ellispark stampede prove this already? Forty Three lives lost. Why? People don't give a sh*t about other people. All that counts is survival of the fittest. If you don't fall in that category, you die. Simple, Africa's rule. Mbeki has his own people plotting to oust him from not only the government, but also the ANC. And I always thought the "Boere" can't stand together.
stats on your chances of survival on South African roads according to a
study done for 1998:
Note: I have not been able to update any of my Homestead generated pages. That's why I've changed to Tripod for the meantime. As soon as Homestead fix their problems, I'll reconsider going back there. This site takes off, I obviously won't.