Criminals a grave danger on roads
IT’S no secret that road deaths and crime have escalated over the past few years and as holidaymakers head home, authorities expect this to increase.
However, what many don’t know is how broadly criminal activity affects road safety across the country.
According to Arrive Alive, crimes that threaten motorists’ safety include the obvious like hijacking, theft of vehicles and smash-and-grabs, but there are less obvious crimes affecting drivers daily.
“These include theft of cables which reduces lighting on our streets. When streetlight cables are stolen it reduces visibility and endangers the lives of drivers and pedestrians,” the organisation said.
Cable theft can cause traffic lights at intersections to malfunction or stop working which can lead to crashes.
Theft of crash barriers and manhole covers sold as scrap metal are catalysts for serious collisions too.
Arrive Alive has listed stolen fences, especially in rural areas and next to informal settlements, as problematic because “it creates an increased risk of animals entering and crossing roads”.
“Stones and other large obstructions placed on the roads with the intention of causing vehicles to crash and providing an opportunity to rob crash victims.
“Stones thrown from cross-over bridges can cause collisions that leave victims defenceless and susceptible to robbery,” it said.
Safe driving requires responsible sharing of the roads with many other road users.
AA said it’s not only law-abiding citizens using local roads, but also people committing serious and violent crimes “and less likely to obey the rules of the roads”.
There is a significant threat to drivers by those who are impaired or driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol while criminals who use the roads for their activities are a risk to the public as well.
Arrive Alive warned motorists against criminals referred to as the “blue light gangs” who present themselves as police officials only to hijack and rob road users.
Criminals who commit crimes elsewhere and use the roads irresponsibly as an escape route in their attempt at a fast “getaway” are a serious danger to motorists while cash-in-transit robberies not only endanger the lives of security guards, but also all those who share the roads with these vehicles.
“Taxi violence and conflict between taxi associations are placing the lives of both drivers and commuters at risk,” Arrive Alive said.
The organisation has advised that motorists never assume roads will be safe and be ready to adjust driving behaviour.
Some tips include approaching and crossing intersections with caution, staying alert at night to the possible presence of animals on the roads, avoiding distractions and keeping all the focus on the traffic and road conditions.
“Joggers and runners are also exposed to criminal attacks and we urge these road users that there is indeed strength in numbers,” Arrive Alive said.
… they are less likely to obey the rules