The AA believes part of the reason for the high death toll is that many South African road users have the mindset that they are breaking the law only if they are caught and this attitude must change.

The AA believes part of the reason for the high death toll is that many South African road users have the mindset that they are breaking the law only if they are caught and this attitude must change.

“We all believe that there are more serious crimes than skipping a red traffic light but the consequences can be dire and may lead to criminal prosecution or worse,” said Petro Kruger, divisional manager for corporate affairs of the Automobile Association.

“While government is responsible for ensuring that our roads are in good condition, drivers and vehicles are fit to be on the roads and traffic law enforcement is in place, it is still the responsibility of each individual driver to drive sensibly and take responsibility for his life and those of his or her passengers,” she said.

Kruger also said that better co-operation between national, provincial and local authorities was needed before any campaign to reduce fatalities and injuries on South African roads could be successful.

"It is clear that there is a lack of co-operation and communication between the various authorities," said Kruger. "The whole idea behind the Arrive Alive campaign was to pool resources and put in a joint effort to address the problem of road safety in our country. It, however, seems that there is greater concern about who receives the credit for successes and who gets blamed for failures than whether a real impact is made on the situation on our roads."

This is in reference to a recent report transport minister Dullah Omar had criticised KwaZulu-Natal’s zero tolerance policy, saying it had not been effective, but the area’s MEC for transport S'bu Ndebele hit back and said Omar’s failure to implement a demerit system was to blame for the high death toll.

The AA said Omar must convene a meeting of all stakeholders to evaluate and assess the current road safety situation in South Africa, including the Departments of Justice and Health.

Meanwhile, reports that a motorist in Limpopo was fined R7 000 for speeding, but the local transport department said it may appeal the sentence, because it was too lenient.

Jacobus Voster was caught doing 210 km/h in his BMW on the N1 at Mantsole near the province's border with Gauteng last week. Said provincial traffic department spokesperson Obed Lang: “If he had been caught in KwaZulu-Natal he would have been fined more than R25 000. We aren't going to tolerate this type of irresponsible driving in our province.”

Voster was freed on R1 000 bail. He pleaded guilty the next day and was sentenced to R7 000 or eight months in prison. He paid R5 000 and was ordered to pay the balance before February 7.