SA has one of the highest road death tolls in the world, yet a report has revealed that there are not nearly enough traffic officials on the roads – about one officer for every 11 000 citizens.

South Africa has one of the highest road death tolls in the world, yet, ahead of the busy holiday season, a report has revealed that there are not nearly enough traffic officials on the roads.

With the annual road awareness campaign expected to move into full swing soon, a Sunday Times investigation has found that there is only one traffic officer for every 11 000 citizens. This is about ten times less than what the government views as being desirable.

Wendy Watson, transport minister Dullah Omar's general manager for Land Transport Regulation, admitted the number of traffic cops was "very far below international standards" and said that a ratio of 1:800, as in some European countries, was desirable.

Omar's spokesperson , Ndivhuwo Mabaya, said that while the minister did not dispute the figures, it was the responsibility of the provincial traffic departments to appoint sufficient officers. The minister chose not to comment further.

With R32 million being allocated to Arrive Alive and its "Operation Juggernaut" campaign, the transport minister's failure to step up visible policing has come under increasing criticism from various organisations.

A spokesperson for the AA, Gary Ronald, said: "People want to see traffic cops out there doing the job . . . People are so fed-up with the dismal road safety record that they're calling for more visible law enforcement."

Ntau Letebele, spokesperson for Arrive Alive, stated that up to 90 per cent of accidents were caused by people who disobeyed the law, and 50 per cent were a result of people driving under the influence of alcohol.

The manager of National Standards and Guidelines at the national Transport Department, Gerrie Botha, confirmed that the number of traffic officers had remained "more or less the same" over the past few years, despite the rising death toll.

Almost 10 000 people were killed on our roads last year, a problem which Botha said was exacerbated by the fact that traffic officers were not working efficiently.

Original article from Car