Curb­ing reck­less driv­ers

Of­fi­cers needed on the road 24 hours a day, ev­ery day

The Witness - Wheels - - INDUSTRY -

SOUTH Africa is a sig­na­tory to the “Decade of Ac­tion for Road Safety” plan, and so too is the N3 Toll Con­ces­sion ( N3TC).

This com­pany main­tains and op­er­ates one of the coun­try’s ma­jor trans­port links, the N3 Toll Route, be­tween the Hei­del­berg in­ter­change in Gaut­eng and the Cedara in­ter­change near Pi­eter­mar­itzburg in KwaZulu- Na­tal.

Since the im­ple­men­ta­tion of this frame­work in 2011, N3TC has in­sti­tuted var­i­ous road­safety in­ter­ven­tions and ac­tiv­i­ties to im­prove gen­eral safety along the N3 Toll Route, and de­spite mak­ing ex­cel­lent progress dur­ing the pre­vi­ous five years, and achiev­ing an over­all 43% ( from 196 in 2011 to 112 in 2015) re­duc­tion in fa­tal­i­ties along the route, some se­ri­ous con­cerns re­main.

“Th­ese can only be ef­fec­tively ad­dressed through the com­mit­ment of all stake­hold­ers, most no­tably that of driv­ers them­selves and law- en­force­ment agen­cies,” said Miles le Roux, trans­port en­gi­neer at N3 Toll Con­ces­sion.

“The gen­eral at­ti­tude of South African driv­ers re­mains poor. About 70% of crashes on the N3 are due to hu­man be­hav­iour and er­rors of judg­ment. Gen­er­ally, it seems driv­ers show lit­tle re­spect for other road users and the law. They seem to be proud of break­ing the law and get­ting away with it,” said Le Roux.

“Driv­ers need to be made aware of how dan­ger­ous driv­ing ac­tu­ally is. They are of­ten not skilled enough for the speeds and con­di­tions they en­counter on the road. The co­op­er­a­tion of all road users and an over­all be­havioural change is es­sen­tial to over­come our road­safety chal­lenges.”

The three most com­mon types of crashes for 2015 on the N3 Toll Route were ve­hi­cles that rolled ( 27,5%), ve­hi­cles that left the road ( 21,9%), and head- tail col­li­sions ( 19,0%). Crashes where ve­hi­cles rolled or left the road are sin­gle- ve­hi­cle crashes where the driver lost con­trol. “In all th­ese sit­u­a­tions, the driver lost con­trol usu­ally due to poor con­cen­tra­tion, judg­ment and ex­ces­sively dan­ger­ous speeds,” said Le Roux.

Pedes­trian crashes ac­count for 4,3% of all crashes and are al­most al­ways fa­tal.

“Th­ese gen­er­ally oc­cur in ar­eas where there are dwellings close to the N3 Toll Route and where hitch- hik­ing takes place. The is­sue is fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated by hawk­ers who sell their wares to truck driv­ers at many un­safe and il­le­gal lo­ca­tions along the route,” said Le Roux.

As road safety is a pri­mary con­cern for the N3TC, the com­pany works in close co- op­er­a­tion with the var­i­ous lawen­force­ment agen­cies along the route.

Var­i­ous in­ter­ven­tions, such as speed over dis­tance mon­i­tor­ing, road blocks, al­co­hol and drug- screen­ing tests, spe­cialised train­ing for law- en­force­ment agen­cies and more, are bear­ing fruit.

How­ever, de­spite the fact that our coun­try has ex­cel­lent traf­fic en­force­ment laws, more needs to be done to ap­ply the law to its fullest and en­force rules and reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing traf­fic vi­o­la­tions and the road­wor­thi­ness of ve­hi­cles.

“It would make a tan­gi­ble dif­fer­ence on our roads if law en­force­ment of­fi­cers were work­ing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and suf­fi­cient com­mit­ment and man­power were avail­able to suc­cess­fully pros­e­cute of­fend­ers,” said Le Roux.

N3 Toll Con­ces­sion de­ploys sig­nif­i­cant re­sources to en­hance over­all safety along the N3 Toll Route.

“We are thank­ful for the sup­port re­ceived from our var­i­ous part­ners in this re­gard,” said Le Roux. — Sup­plied.

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