Jozi driv­ers wreak havoc

The New Age (Gauteng) - - FRONT PAGE - KUTULLO MADISHA ku­tul­lom@the­newage.co.za

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.”

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