Road rage on the increase

Former diplomat shot at in road rage ordeal on Monday morning.  Photo: supplied.
Former diplomat shot at in road rage ordeal on Monday morning. Photo: supplied.

Gopolang Chawane

Figures released by transport minister Dipuo Peters, showed that road fatalities over the festive season increased by a staggering 14% from the previous year.

According to the Automobile Association of SA (AA) spokesperson Layton Beard, these figures were alarming and pointed to a need for an intervention to address road safety in our country.

Beard said a contributing factor to these statistics was road rage which in most instances went by unnoticed.

According to the minister, the preliminary figures showed that 1 755 people died on the roads from 1 December last year to 11 January.

“Yes we have seen a slight increase in the number of road rage incidents reported however, we need accurate numbers to always corroborate this fact,” said Beard.

The AA said in a statement its survey showed aggressive driving was becoming a significant part of the road culture.

In the past year, the AA recorded at least nine cases of road rage all of which with fatal results. In one, a motorist used a hockey stick to beat a fellow road user to death, and in another a driver shot and killed a motorcyclist who had accidentally bumped the mirror of his car.

“Legislation does not describe road rage as an offence, so no accurate data and statistics are available. However, anecdotal evidence suggests road rage is on the increase, particularly in metropolitan areas,” said the association.

This comes after a former diplomat was shot at during a road rage incident on Monday morning.

Pule Phafane was shot at near the corner of Garstfontein and Primula roads while he was driving into his home’s driveway in Moreleta Park. The shooter is suspected to be a man who had rammed into Phafane’s vehicle earlier.

Phafane, the CEO of Techcloud, said he was terrified as he was fired. He said a motorist had assumed that he was cutting traffic when he was turning into his driveway.

The motorist shot Phafane’s vehicle’s wheels, caused damage to a window and the vehicle.

Infographic: Danielle Garrett

Infographic: Danielle Garrett

Phafane said the man later fled the scene but was later arrested after police used footage from Phafane’s dashboard camera to identify him.

Garsfontein police spokesperson Warrant officer Dave Miller said the man would appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court this week.

The AA offered tips on how road users can reduce road rage.

The AA said compliance with traffic laws and conditions should be the chief goal of any anti-aggressive driver campaign. Drivers need to be aware of their own driving practices and to keep their emotions in check when venturing onto the road.

Changing the mind-set of drivers could be encouraged through media, educational and law enforcement campaigns. The reintroduction of a road user or driver education syllabus in the school system where tolerance, courtesy and patience are taught to our young drivers would also go a long way to decreasing road accidents, as would enforcement of traffic rules relating to aggressive and dangerous driving.

Visible policing would have an immediate impact on traffic criminality.

Urgent action needs to be taken. Educating our children in the proper road use, fostering a culture of road tolerance, and strengthening the perception that law enforcers will identify and prosecute offenders accordingly, will have a positive impact on our road safety record.

The AA provided some tips on avoiding road rage.

Also read: 

Shots fired at former SA diplomat

Road rage triggers shooting in Moreleta Park

 

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