Jozi drivers wreak havoc
JOHANNESBURG motorists have been described as the “biggest headache” on the province’s roads having contributed largely to more than 200 deaths since the beginning of December.
Community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said the number of road fatalities in the province had already exceeded last year’s overall festive season statistics – and there is still a week to go before the season ends.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the MEC said the biggest culprits were drivers and pedestrians in the 18 to 21 age group.
“Driver and pedestrian behaviour has been responsible for most of the road fatalities that have happened in the province. The contributing factor to our fatalities is speed and drinking and driving. The main culprits are young men and women.
“Johannesburg is our biggest headache,” she said.
In 2016, 200 people died on the province’s roads and although the official figure for this year will only be officially confirmed next month, the numbers are already above 200.
As a result, the province has opted to intensify road blocks by not only focusing on drunken driving, but also spot checks during the New Year’s Eve weekend.
“Everything will be checked from wheels to brakes and a breathalyser most definitely. More than 500 people were arrested in Johannesburg from December 21 to 25. The Joburg municipality traffic police department is focusing on areas of entertainment for road blocks – it stops people from driving under the influence,” she said.
Meanwhile, national Transport minister Joe Maswanganyi said law enforcement operations will continue to target enforcement around wearing seat belts, using cellphones while driving and unroadworthy vehicles across the country.
Just this festive season alone, the Western Cape has reported 92 deaths while Limpopo has had more than 100.
“It is a universally-accepted fact that conspicuous patrol of freeways, streets and public places by uniformed officers in marked vehicles is the best means to prevent road traffic violations,” Maswanganyi said.
The country’s national routes including the N1, N2, N3 and N4 are expected to see another influx this coming weekend.
Maswanganyi said although a decision had been taken to make road safety a 365day business, it is inevitable that the department doubles its efforts during the festive season.
He said the National Traffic Police, located within the Road Traffic Management Corporation and the SAPS were still out in numbers to reduce and where possible eliminate the risk of crashes on the roads.
“They do their work despite hostility from uncooperative motorists at times with one primary objective in mind – to save people’s lives.
“The carnage we continue to experience on our roads is caused by a number of factors, mostly embedded in human behaviour and vehicle factors.
“A preliminary report from the Western Cape provincial traffic service says five people died on the province’s roads at the weekend.”