Drivers urged to respect rules of the road

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Cape Town – A spike in head-on collisions on Western Cape roads has provincial traffic authorities on edge ahead of the bumper Easter weekend.

Since 2014, Easter road deaths have remained high, with 27 people being killed on the province’s roads in 2014, 30 people in 2015 and 29 people losing their lives last year.

Expressing concern about driving trends, Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant said since the beginning of the month, seven head-on collisions have already claimed the lives of 18 people, including that of Provincial Traffic Officer Charmaine Olivier.

“These head-on collisions have been largely due to driver error and reckless driving, resulting in serious injury and death,” he said.

MEC Grant said with traffic volumes expected to increase over the Easter weekend, the problem will in all likelihood be exacerbated.

“Increased traffic volumes are known to result in the increased risk of crashes and serious injury on our roads. Our plans have been specifically formulated to respond effectively to the extraordinary challenges that the Easter period brings,” he said.

Vowing to take on a zero tolerance approach in a bid to reduce the number of fatalities, MEC Grant said they are hopeful that the current road safety plan will not only address the dangers caused by reckless and irresponsible road use, but also go a long way to ensuring that injury or unnecessary death is avoided.

“Since the beginning of the year, we have seen a noticeable spike in the number of head-on collisions, which points to the causal factor being reckless and negligent driving.”

The MEC said since the beginning of the year, head-on collisions claimed a total of 35 lives, 16 drivers and 19 passengers.

According to MEC Grant there is an urgent need to change the behaviour of drivers towards adherence to the rules of the road.

“Obeying the rules of the road is a non-negotiable and we will be dedicating resources towards addressing errant road use that we know causes the horrific crashes that we see,” he said.

Provincial traffic authorities attribute the main causes of the crashes to reckless and irresponsible road use, which includes ignoring the rules of the road, drinking and driving, as well as fatigue.

In a bid to curb road deaths, the provincial Transport Department has been employing technological innovations to boost traffic law enforcement efforts.

These include Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD) camera enforcement, which is live at various locations of the N2, the R61, the R27 and most of the N1 highways; and hand-held devices that allow traffic officers to verify information about a vehicle and its owner, using only the number plate of a vehicle.

MEC Grant said they currently in the process of installing dash-cams in unmarked vehicles, which will be deployed to hotspot areas across the province to tackle reckless and negligent driving.

“We cannot continue to see lives lost so senselessly on our roads as a result of dangerous driver behaviour and general lawlessness,” the MEC said. –

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