Vehicle accidents cost the taxpayer and the province an estimated R1, 5 billion in 2008/09. The DA believes a large chunk of these costs could be avoided in future if the law is effectively enforced by the traffic authorities.

The amount of R1,5 billion is a conservative estimate, based on 2 626 accidents reported in the province during the 2008/09 financial year.

In response to a parliamentary question the Democratic Alliance was informed that overall accident costs per motor vehicle averaged R360, 000 per vehicle. This included damage to vehicle and medical costs of the victims. Thus this amounts to R945 360 per annum.

However, this amount excludes opportunity costs such as loss of productivity which is estimated at R211 210 per vehicle.

If one multiplies this figure against the 2 626 accidents reported (accidents may involve more than one vehicle in many cases) and does not include non-reported accidents then this figure is conservative.

Given high unemployment and financial constraints, this province can ill afford such wasteful expenditure.

Most accidents were caused by speeding and overloading while 4, 4% of accidents can be attributed to alcohol, unroadworthy vehicles 1, 4% and unlicensed drivers 1%.

The Province must bear the blame for part of this expense due to the ever-decreasing numbers and presence of law enforcement officers to keep the law and to fine speedsters and overloaded vehicles.

It is hoped that the proposed satellite traffic offices, to be stationed along major routes in the province this year, will result in a dramatic decrease of vehicle accidents during this financial year.

For further information, please contact Dacre Haddon, MPL on 0796943788

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