Speed kills - ( Inspired by moronic video)
We lost two prominent football stars earlier this week. Yesterday it was confirmed that Black Leopards Football Club fullback, Fernando Matola was the driver of the car who's occupants were found burnt beyond recognition after the car veered off the road and hit a tree. The other occupants were his wife and two children. This follows news of the death of Sundowns star Gift Leremi died in a car accident in Johannesburg on Monday.
In both cases it appears as if there were no other parties were involved. Fairly or unfairly the assumption is made, certainly by myself, that speed had to be involved. Its a national epidemic that shows no sign of abating. 'African time' clearly does not transfer well to the road.
We have a two-fold problem in South Africa, which stems from the fact that we have such diverse economic poles. The formal economy has been booming for sometime now, and the prevalence of high end motor vehicle attest to this. These cars cost way in excess of half a million rands and are capable of speeds more than double the national road speed limit.
Now combine this with the 'other economy' which lives on or below the bread line. Still requiring means to get to and from work or leisure destinations these individuals drive or are driven in vehicles that are not worth the scrap metal value and cannot go much faster than the minimum speed limit without loosing further value as body parts are left on the road. This cocktail of speed, lack of speed and the inability of either to stop effectively is a lethal one.
On my local mountain pass in one week we had three major accidents. None of which involved more than one vehicle. Again pointing to speeding(or more accurately the sudden lack of speed) and/or the inability to control the chunk of metal used for transportation.
Clearly we have a massive problem, that needs to be solved by :
a) getting the unroadworthy vehicles off the road (this will cause politicians and city officials to become unpopular with their constituents so is very unlikely this will happen)
b) visible policing (this requires the metro police to be motivated enough to work a full day, so too is unlikely to happen, after all fixed speed cameras require much less effort to maintain)
c) more effective speed limitation mechanism (in my opinion this should be speed limiters been mandatory in all cars ... what the chances?)
d) a more effective public transportation (we can only dream)
e) A change in the collective attitude of all SA drivers.
It's the final point that I think, in light of this week's loss of two soccer stars, we have a chance to begin making a difference. I would like to see SAFA, the Premier League, Sundowns & Black Leopards take the lead start a responsible driving campaign of some sort. Let's try and make something positive of a horrible week!
Finally, the moronic video I mentioned. While watching consider the fact the this moron was holding his (sorry that's the assumption, it seems like a male thing to do) cellphone while accelerating!
Pop back later for something a whole lot lighter.