Paper presented at the South African Transport Conference 17 - 20 July 2000 "Action in transport for the new millennium", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa. ABSTRACT: The spate of bus crashes in South Africa in September/October 1999 led to a ministerial inquiry into the causes of these crashes and also to the formulation of recommendations to prevent similar disasters.
Annually, about 9 000 buses (about one-third of the total bus fleet) are involved in road accidents. The frequent occurrence of minibus taxi crashes is also a matter of grave concern due to the large number of
vehicle occupants killed or injured. Minibus taxis is the vehicle category in South Africa with the highest accident and fatality rate per 100 million vehicle kilometers traveled.
The paper covers a number of aspects to highlight the problems but also provides short and medium term solutions. Firstly, the road traffic safety record of the public passenger transport sector is scrutinised. The collision and casualty figures for buses and minibuses for 1998 (the latest available
statistics) by urban and rural areas are highlighted. An analysis is done of trends in bus and minibus road accident and collision rates since the early nineties. The trends are also compared to those of
freight vehicles (heavy vehicles and LDV’s). Secondly, factors are identified contributing to road traffic crashes and casualties in the public passenger transport sector. The impact of the human, vehicle and
road environment factors are discussed and contributing factors based on specific case studies are pinpointed. Thirdly, short and medium term solutions are offered to reduce road casualties in the public passenger transport sector. Measures covered are related to operators, drivers, vehicles and other more general issues impacting on all road users. These solutions are based on the results of deliberations between government and the various stakeholders involved.
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