100's of "Death Trap" minibus taxis have been impounded by JMPD since the beginning of March for being un-roadworthy vehicles. JMPD spokesman, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, says "Some were in such a bad condition that they were sent directly to the pound rather than to the Langlaagte testing station for roadworthy checking". He continues to say that some were “literally falling apart and were accidents waiting to happen". Many had expired license discs and false number plates, so it would take a while to track down the owners".
Police were shocked to find taxis in such bad condition, with parts of the steering and dashboards held together with hand-connected wires, one was using a screwdriver as a gear shift. 11 taxis were identified as stolen, however, no arrests would be made as the drivers were blaming the taxi owners for the bad condition of the vehicles.
Taking into consideration the governments campaign called 'Hlokomela' – which is aimed at reducing road accidents by checking a vehicle's roadworthiness before it leaves the rank with passengers – the major issue it come down to is the drivers attitude towards not obeying the rules of the road – this contributes the most to the accidents we see on our day-to-day travels.
Most will agree that the majority of accidents are caused by taxis blatantly ignoring the rules of the road and not taking other peoples lives into consideration. However, police stopping taxis on a daily basis to ensure all traffic fines are paid and the vehicles are roadworthy is said to take all day, leaving little to no time to take care of crimes of higher importance. Asking Taxis to obey the rules of the road seems to be a waste of breath but how else can we address this persistent issue? How can we ensure a better and safer transport system?
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