Ef­forts fu­tile with­out ac­tion on the road

Weekend Witness - - Opinion - OPIN­ION James Mills

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.