S.African taxi drivers to receive safety training

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South African mini-bus taxi drivers who are notorious for reckless driving will be sent for driving lessons in an initiative aimed to reduce road fatalities, a national taxi council said on Friday.

According to the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), the first ever taxi training academy will equip the drivers with customer care skills and road safety.

"Through the Hlokomela campaign SANTACO seeks to improve customer care and promote responsible driving which require behavioural change in order to achieve reduction of road accidents," SANTACO said in a statement.

The campaign would also train and recruit women drivers, who make up a small percentage of the industry.

Santaco represents the nation's taxi operators, who collectively transport millions of South Africans every day in often battered 15-seat mini-buses that stop wherever they please.

Last month the council launched a budget airline targeting remote towns, in a bid to diversify its interests and clean up its image.

Despite good infrastructure, South African roads are among the most dangerous in the world, with some 13,000 people killed every year -- more than 35 a day.

Public transport accounts for most of the accidents.

© 2011 AFP

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