Paper presented at the 28th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 6 - 9 July 2009 "Sustainable Transport", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
Speed of vehicles and the problems it causes in traffic flow has long been considered one of the most important contributors in crash causation. Research focuses on speeding behaviour along with other external and behavioural factors linked to risk-taking and unsafe driving behaviour have been strongly debated throughout road safety research literature. Although a combination of traffic offences contribute to South Africa's dreadful road crash and injury record, speed of vehicles is considered as one of the main factors contributing to the escalation in traffic crashes. Most South Africans experienced the 2008 global credit crunch with a number of rate increases from the Reserve Bank throughout the year. The escalating interest rates had a ripple effect on the South African economy including rises in the fuel price which brought along a hike in food prices and other basic living costs, which normally stems from a soar in prices related to transport services. Although fuel prices came down in August 2008, other living costs are still on the increase and costs associated with travelling especially are seemingly out of control. The purpose of this paper is too contemplate the effect that external or social control methods, such as the government raising interest rates indirectly could have on the driver population of South Africa perception of speed. Simply put: Did drivers consciously or unconsciously drive slower, in order to save costs directly related to fuel and indirectly related to saving on living costs in general. It is hypothesized that in theory there should have been a decrease in overall speeds of privately owned vehicles because of the high fuel prices and that by driving slower and keeping to the speed limit, people will have saved on the cost of fuel and travelling in general. This could be considered as an indirect method where exerting external social control through monetary means had a significant effect on influencing driver behaviour through the increased cost of living.
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