Christmas time is here again

Christmas time is here again

Well, another year has come and gone! As 2013 draws to a close, I think we all need to set some serious resolutions

New Year’s resolutions … Started thinking about them yet? I’ve never “officially” done the resolution thing, I might have had a couple of thoughts in my mind, but I’ve never really looked back to see if I made good on them.

And now, as quickly as it began, 2013 is at an end. And I have no idea what the resolutions were that I made for this year … I’ll even bet that most of you don’t, either.

So what has the average motorist, the transport sector and the motor industry had to deal with this year that could form the basis for our resolutions come 2014? I think that the chances of the same problems repeating themselves are quite high, so we need to decide how to deal with them.

At number five on my list is the ever increasing petrol price. This, admittedly, is not something we can change. But, we can minimise the dent to our wallets … The best way to do so? We all need to start driving properly – and that goes for heavy-vehicle drivers and the average motorist in equal measure. Send your drivers for regular training (send yourself, family and staff for advanced driver training, too) and monitor their performance. Drivers who are more alert to their surroundings and in tune with their vehicles will return better fuel economy and lower wear and tear on vehicles and thereby increase the efficiency of the business.

At number four I put strikes. South Africa knows a lot about strikes … This too, is perhaps out of our hands – until it is too late. In 2012 a disgusting drivers’ strike claimed a few lives and truly embarrassed our industry. This year, the local vehicle manufacturing industry was brought to its knees and our economy lost billions. Now, I don’t run a large company with many union-affiliated employees, so I admittedly know little about labour relations – but one doesn’t need a degree in economics to realise the far-reaching implications these strikes have. The resolution, for unions, workers and business, is to realise this and begin thinking about the growth and reputation of the country, not only bank balances.

Third place on the podium must go to the long-winded e-tolls battle. Our resolution – not just as Gautengers, but as a nation – must be to keep fighting this ridiculous sham tooth and nail. We all know that there were far better and more efficient ways to fund Gauteng’s freeway improvements, that would have cost everybody far less over a shorter time period … Let’s hope government comes to its senses and adds this to its resolution list too …

Second spot has to go to road carnage – 2013’s most shocking example of which was certainly the Field’s Hill tragedy. The real tragedy, though, is that far too many accidents occur on a daily basis. The overwhelming majority of accidents are caused by the “human factor”. We need to make it our resolution to be better drivers (no, none of us are as good as we think we are) and pedestrians and take better care of our vehicles. We also need the law enforcement agencies to ensure we do what we should …

Yes, taking the chequered-flag is South Africa’s shameful law enforcement. Increasingly often these days (which itself is worrying) a new minister of transport and a new police commissioner enters office, vowing to stamp out corruption. We also have metropolitan police departments (yes, I’m referring to the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) specifically) that place far too great an emphasis on speed prosecution and far too little in getting drunk and unlicensed drivers, in their unroadworthy vehicles, off our roads … Now that’s a resolution if ever I saw one …

These are all issues I’ve written about this year, and I sincerely hope I won’t be writing about them again in 2014. Let’s create those resolutions and make them happen!

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