Efforts futile without action on the road
WITH fixed and average speed limit cameras recording thousands of alleged speeding motor vehicles a month, this practice is futile and meaningle ss when thousands of the se case s will ne ver see a da y in court or the fine s e ver p aid.
The only effective way of apprehending speed limit off enders, e specially those t ravelling at e xcessively high speed, is by direct stopping and contact by traffic officers at the time. It is alarming to hear that some motorists are being det ected on camer as mo ving at speeds well over 180 km/h. The risks to other road users, with no eff ective action being taken on the spot to remove the threat of the se offenders from the traffic system is a most unhealthy situa tion. The N3 route between Van Reenen and Dur ban is r egarded as the mos t heavily trafficked and dangerous highway in South Africa. An incerdible number of trucks in particular, carrying various heavy goods, c ontainers and haz ardous substances, t ravel b etween the interior and the sea port day and night, with minimal policing of serious offences, never mind speeding. Truck drivers know that the N3 and all other national roads, are unpatrolled by traffic police from 10 pm t o aft er 7 am. M otorists take a dvantage by t ravelling at high speed, driving recklessly and inconsiderately, and oper ating overloaded and unroadworthy v ehicles with impunit y and no fear of detection. One has only to see the number of truck s that s top and park ille gally during the night on the N3 and at entrances to towns along the way, to know that there is no action taken by the traffic authorities because they ar e at home sleeping .
There is no reason why a small number of allnight traffic patrols cannot be detailed t o polic e the violations that currently e scape at tention but ha ve grave consequences when heavy trucks, bodies, goods and die sel or chemicals are scat tered acr oss the high way and shut it do wn f or man y hour s.
The g overnment intr oduces man y new traffic laws. The r ecent introduction of c ompulsory car seat s f or children and governors on taxis and heavy vehicles are examples, but these have no purpose if not continually enforced be fore the damage is done. Similarly, the annual bleating b y minis ters and authorities about r oad carnage and irr esponsible road users, but with no proactive, c ontinuous dail y la w enf orcement conducted by a sufficient force of competent tr affic offic ers, doe s not help. It will take years of regular facetoface intervention between officers and road users before we see better behaved drivers and pedestrians, safer roads and minimal c ollisions.
What is needed is education, engineering and enforcement strategies and applications, and the development of a culture of r espect f or and c ompliance with the la w, coupled with immediat e action by traffic officials to remove the criminals fr om the r oad when the offence is committed, rather than mailing myriad piec es of p aper thr ough a defunct pos tal servic e that ha ve lit tle chance of r outing out the b ad guys or bringing them t o jus tice.