Taxi owners and drivers have expressed gratitude to people who prayed and encouraged them to drive safely to their destinations over the Easter weekend.
Besuthu Ndungane, the public relations officer, for the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (CODETA), said passenger safety and the prevention of road accidents were their priorities.
He said this after members of the community held an Arrive Alive Campaign at the Site C rank on Thursday March 24 as hordes of people prepared to go away for the Easter weekend.
Led by councillor Vuyokazi Matanzima and carrying placards, residents appealed to all the drivers to exercise caution and take care on the road, use seatbelts, not to drink and drive and to have tolerance.
Speaking to the drivers and the owners, Ms Matanzima cited fatigue as one of the contributing factors to road accidents.
She urged drivers to take regular breaks. She said people needed to ensure they travelled in roadworthy vehicles and that all the drivers were licensed, and cautioned against intolerance on the roads and over excitement.
“Because the holiday is short and there is congestion, people tend to lack tolerance. Some are more excited because they are heading home or to their places of worship. We should not be so excited that people drive recklessly. We appeal to the drivers and owners to make sure their vehicles are safe.
“We encouraged them to buckle up and all passengers too. The most important thing, as a driver, is to take regular breaks during these long journeys and abide by the rules of the road including adhering to speed limits,” she said.
Mr Ndungane said Codeta welcomed any awareness campaign to end the unnecessary loss of lives .
“Our aim is to always work with the community on such campaigns. We prioritise people’s safety. We are excited to know that residents are also concerned about road fatalities.
“Codeta is not only a taxi organisation but a community organisation. We call on our people to tell us where we are going right, but mostly where we are going wrong,” he told Vukani.
He said Codeta had also established a fund to help families whose loved ones died in road accidents involving their taxis.
“We are trying to improve our drivers and upskill them. We acknowledge that some accidents are caused by the mistakes from our drivers, and we have established this fund to help the families. We are doing all we can to end unnecessary fatalities on the roads. We also make a call to people to work with us, come talk to us about any concerns they have about us. We are people, and we make mistakes,” he said.
Meanwhile, the provincial traffic authorities say only five people were killed on the Western Cape roads over the long weekend. This is the lowest Easter death toll since 2010.
Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa confirmed that two pedestrians, two passengers and a driver were killed in three seperate accidents over the weekend.
The pedestrians were knocked over in Grabouw and on the N2 near Baden Powell Drive, a driver was killed in a crash in Mowbray and the two passengers were killed in accidents in Montague and Leeu-Gamka.