New innovative British transport technology could be the solution to putting the brakes on reckless speedsters who contribute heavily to the carnage on South African roads.
The advanced traffic control system, now on trial in the UK, had the Eastern and Southern Cape transport industry buzzing this week.
Transport for London announced this week it would test the new technology, Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), over a six-month period.
Once installed in a car, the device uses satellite tracking and a digital road map to determine the speed limit on a specific road. It prevents acceleration over the limit and reduces the speed of the vehicle if the driver fails to do so.
The ISA will be tested on a London bus, a taxi and 20 council vehicles. If the trial proves to be successful and enhances road safety, bus companies and taxi operators could be forced to install them or be given incentives to do so.
Regional transport role-players say such a device could only have positive effects in South Africa, which has thousands of fatal road accidents a year.
The 2007/08 Road Traffic Management Corporation report recorded more than nine million registered vehicles, 630000 in the Eastern Cape.
Between April 2007 and last April, more than 11000 accidents claimed 14627 lives. Of these, 1300 â€“ killing 1600 people â€“ were in the Eastern Cape.
Algoa Bus Company spokesman Andre Brink said the ISA was exactly the solution he had been waiting for since GPS mapping systems and electronic engine management systems became common about five years ago.
Algoa Bus had been limiting the speed of its buses to 75km/h in the metropolitan area since 2001, which had greatly reduced accident figures.
â€œThis could only be done on buses equipped with electronic engine management systems. When buses are sent to destinations out of town, the management systems are set to 100km/h.â€
But Brink expects a few obstacles to the ISAâ€˜s potential roll-out here.
â€œThe current lack of political will exercised by our authorities to control the badly behaved taxi industry will be a major stumbling block,â€ he said.
â€œFor the bus company, the lack of funding will prevent us from implementing the ISA solution on a large scale.â€
Zuki Bunu, of the Uncedo Taxi Association, said: â€œSome drivers have hot feet and cost owners a lot in traffic tickets. Such a device will sort that out.â€
George taxi owner Stan Fortuin added he could not see buying such a device without state compensation.