When it comes to using any South African road, almost nothing pushes up a motorist’s blood pressure up like a taxi driver.
While making a living for themselves, transporting scores of passengers, there are those who bend the traffic laws, while testing the patience of their fellow road users. But has Gauteng’s Department of Transport come up with a solution?
Gauteng’s Department of Transport will offer advanced driving lessons to taxi drivers in the province. Yes, you read that right. Taxi drivers can have advanced driving lessons.
During an interview with eNCA, Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mambolo said the lessons form part of a new agreement between the government, the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance (GNTA), and the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco). The agreement is aimed at ensuring the province’s roads are safer and that there is less carnage.
While explaining that statistics show that the taxi industry is not the biggest culprit behind the majority of the fatalities and injuries on the province’s road, Mambolo explains there are strong perceptions on the issue that taxis lead to accidents.
Furthermore, Mambolo emphasised having a driver’s licence does not necessarily mean one is adequately skilled.
Therefore, he feels it is of the utmost importance to empower taxi drivers with advanced and sophisticated methods of driving in order to protect the lives of commuters.
Signing a memorandum of understanding with Armscor, the acquisition agency for the Department of Defence, to offer advanced driving lessons to taxi drivers, taxi drivers in Gauteng will find themselves becoming professionally skilled in driving.
With the project set to be rolled out in 2020, Mambolo claims the government and the taxi industry will share the costs of these lessons, with Armscor having sufficient capacity to a large number of drivers.
While looking at saving lives through the initiative, the upcoming project will also have a positive impact on the economy.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), claims road crashes apply a heavy burden on the economy, as well as society and families. This is because crashes often involve people who are economically active members of their respective communities, many of whom are also breadwinners and heads of families.
A study conducted by both the RTMC and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) estimates the cost of crashes to South Africa last year was R166.2 billion.
Furthermore, according to the study, it is estimated that one road-related death represents an average loss of R4.6 million to the economy. This is added up in terms of a loss of productivity, pain and suffering, medical costs, legal and funeral costs.
With the project gearing up to change the Gauteng taxi industry in 2020, what are your thoughts? Do you feel taxi drivers throughout South Africa must undergo advanced driving lessons? Do you feel it can improve road safety?
Share your views and thoughts with us in the comment section below.