Apr

Bakwena – those deaths are not your fault

2018-04-12 16:18
Reckless driving on the N1

FleetWatch carried a story in our recent newsletter where TRAC reported an increase in crashes and fatalities on the N4 Toll route over this past Easter compared to the same period last year. We have now heard from Bakwena’s commercial manager, Liam Clarke, how the people at Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire (Bakwena) are really saddened by the fatalities that occurred given the extra efforts they put into keeping people safe on their road.

“We put several measures into place to avoid fatalities and implemented a Control of Speed by Illusion (COSBI) campaign to urge motorists to drive more carefully throughout the Easter period,” says Clarke.

The campaign involved the placement of life-size cardboard cut-outs of a police car, motorcycle and traffic policeman along the N1N4 as decoys. These cut-outs were complimented with additional thought provoking road signage to encourage safer driving behaviour over the Easter period.

As was reported by FleetWatch, Bakwena also partnered with Imperial Road Safety and Hyundai SA for six additional patrol vehicles aimed at assisting with more visible policing and crash assistance, as well as to help road users who found themselves in difficult situations along the N1N4 route. These six vehicles travelled 23 061 kilometres over this period.

This is the second consecutive year Bakwena has run the COSBI campaign. The initiative is critical, especially given the announcement by the Automobile Association that 2016 witnessed the highest number of road deaths in 10 years.

In an effort to encourage motorists to stop and take regular breaks during their journey, Bakwena also partnered with McDonalds Bela Bela to provide a complimentary cup of coffee to all truck and bus drivers going through Mantsole weighbridge on the N1 north as well as motorists passing through the Carousel toll plaza this Easter period.

Every year, Bakwena introduces measures to encourage drivers to observe the rules of the road, abide by speed limits and take extra precautions, especially at designated traffic hotspots during holiday periods.

“Bakwena cares about the people who travel on its roads. One of our four Corporate Social Investment (CSI) pillars is to promote road safety on the roads we construct, manage, maintain and upgrade for SANRAL. The COSBI, Imperial and McDonalds campaigns are just a few examples of the many initiatives by Bakwena to raise awareness around road safety and we are truly devastated that six people lost their lives on our roads this Easter,” says Clarke.

Well, here’s FleetWatch’s take on it. Yes, feel saddened but don’t feel guilty. Just look at the measures – as described above – that Bakwena put in place to help keep its road users safe over this period. They went out of their way to try and keep everyone safe. And now look at the video shown here to see how road users behaved over this period. This was taken on the N1 and forwarded to FleetWatch. Note how cars, taxis and one truck were using the opposite lane – driving directly into the face of on-coming traffic – to overtake congested traffic in the two legal lanes heading south.

No matter what measures you take to keep people safe, so as long as drivers like these killer reprobates act like they do, we are going to get fatalities on the road. FleetWatch is getting a little sick and tired of the all the blame for the road carnage being placed on the shoulders of everyone else apart from the drivers behind the controls of the vehicles.

I recall following the road crashes over the December period and I got so ‘gatvol’ with the proliferation of reckless driving that resulted in crashes that I was about to post a message saying: “Ag, forget it. We don’t care anymore. Just go kill yourselves.’ That was after driving the N1 from Johannesburg to the Western Cape and seeing the most horrendous examples of irresponsible driving – and not by trucks I might add. The trucks were great.

I didn’t send that message however. Why? Simply because while killing themselves, they would kill other innocents – people who follow the rules of the road and don’t deserve to die. Drivers such as those seen in the accompanying video should be taken off our roads. They should have their driving licenses suspended for life and never be allowed behind the wheel of any vehicle again – ever!

FleetWatch has used a police source to try identify the number plates of those vehicles but the source has come back saying it is impossible. However, we do know the company operating that red truck. It’s a cross border company and we are going to do everything we can to identify that driver and ensure he never comes into our country again. And hopefully, the relevant authorities – with whom we are liaising – will issue that vehicle and driver with the highest fine ever issued for reckless driving.

So Bakwena, N3TC, TRAC – keep doing the good work you are doing in trying to save lives. It’s not your fault.

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