The carnage on South African roads has reached an absurd magnitude. Without commitment from government, transport bodies and our society, road trauma will continue to rise, leading to more fatalities while their killers continue to walk free.
- CEO of The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) South Africa
- Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development South Africa
- Deputy Minister of Transport South Africa
Mrs Chikunga Lydia Sindisiswe
- Minister of Transport South Africa
Elizabeth Dipuo Peters
Killer Drivers: It’s about Time - Jail Time
The carnage on South African roads has reached an absurd magnitude.
We are urging all pedestrians, joggers, cyclists and fellow motorists to sign this petition in pursuit of justice for my father Louis Nel and all those killed or seriously injured on our roads every year. Together we can make a difference.
This is a protest for proper consequences to the following traffic offences:
• Drunk Driving
• Reckless driving & overtaking
• Driver Fatigue
• Distractive driving i.e. cellphone texting / usage
Individuals and families are destroyed each and every day as a result of selfish individuals who show an obvious lack of respect for other road users and the law itself.
To put things into perspective: on 20 April 2011 my own family became yet another road statistic. My dad Louis Nel went jogging that fateful morning and never returned to us… A drunk driver killed him.
My dad was a great man who excelled in all aspects of his life. He simply loved life and always aspired to uplift and inspire other people. He was an avid runner, cyclist, a world-renowned bonsai master and a successful entrepreneur. He still had many goals he wanted to achieve and his life was cut short long before he could reach them.
Our family, friends and community are still in complete shock and are horrified that his precious life was taken in such a selfish and preventable manner. The senseless lawlessness on our roads has to stop!
Since my dad’s passing, I have read up on thousands of similar cases both locally and internationally and have tried to find patterns and ways to dramatically reduce road fatalities. Traffic violations all have the exact same patterns with the same horrific results.
The statistics speak for themselves and South Africa's road death and injury numbers are amongst the highest in the world.
Authorities and traffic departments have run a series of ineffective campaigns urging motorists to be responsible on the roads. These campaigns have little or no effect as they do not target the perpetrators and they rely on the motorists ‘voluntary compliance’ plus they do not show the results of what actually happens on our roads. If we want to run effective road safety campaigns we should be taking the lead from the hard-hitting TAC Victoria ad campaigns run in Australia.
From all of my extensive research (and believe me, it is all I have been doing- a coping mechanism since my dad's death), there is ONE strategy that reign’s supreme and that gets desired results. This is not a 'light bulb' moment, but an effective solution that works in other countries across the globe. The only true deterrent to these senseless traffic offences is to steeply increase the consequences…
Real jail time for anyone who has killed or seriously injured a person as a result of drunk/reckless driving is the only deterrent to these avoidable deaths and injuries. Freedom is a luxury that cannot be awarded to these perpetrators.
Currently most people that are found guilty of causing road fatalities are being charged with culpable homicide and the punishments are minimal- suspended sentences, community service or house arrest.
Why is the justice system giving second chances to individuals whose reckless behaviour has resulted in a person’s death? It is an insult to the victims, their families, friends and our society at large.
Recently, in an effort to combat these leniencies, state prosecutors are charging offenders with murder, so as punishments/jail sentences can be more severe. For example, former minister of Transport S'bu Ndebele called for all drunk drivers to be charged with murder. I agree with this statement and believe that 'intent to kill' starts the moment you decide to drink and drive, exceed the speed limit, text while driving etc.
Whether an individual is charged with culpable homicide or murder is currently taken on a case-by-case basis. Drunk driver Sibusiso Langa was charged with murder for mowing down 6 joggers but my dad’s killer, Gunter Geyer was charged with culpable homicide, it feels like the judicial system is saying "Oh sorry, we only charge culprits with murder if you kill several people at once, or if children are involved"... Who decides if one life is more important than another, where is the consistency?
We need to implement change:
• Call for special ‘Traffic Courts’ in every province where all traffic violations can be dealt with by experts in a swift, efficient and fair manner – people have the right to a speedy trial
• No leniency on first time or young offenders- research shows that they are most likely to reoffend
• Driving license to be immediately revoked for any motorist charged in a serious injury/fatal road incident
• A minimum jail sentence – 12yrs plus, for anyone convicted of killing on the roads, across all provinces
Reduction in road traffic violations requires support from all parties, however governments are ultimately responsible for driving change in policy and implementation.
Our jails will not become over run with convicted motorists as the harsh punishments will act as a serious deterrent to future motorists who consider breaking the law, particularly in South African society where we all rely so heavily on personal transport.
It’s about time...
Nothing will reverse our tragedy and our lives have been forever changed.
Maybe it’s not too late for others?
Miss you Dad..
Note: Thank you to SADD (South Africans Against Drunk Driving) for the continued support, determination and advocacy they have shown our family during these agonising times.
Stop Killer Drivers started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,037 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.