Traffic officers out in full force during Easter holidays

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Polokwane – During the upcoming Easter holidays traffic law enforcement officers will be out in full force to examine driver and vehicle safety as well as impound unroadworthy vehicles, warned Transport Minister Ben Dikobe Martins.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s Easter Holiday Road Safety campaign in Mentz, just outside Polokwane on Sunday, Martins called on public members to actively get involved in road safety issues.

“The loss of over 1 000 people per month comes at a huge social and economic cost to the country.

“Government alone cannot win this war, no matter how much resources are invested into the road safety campaign,” he said.

Martins said road fatalities cost the country just above R3 billion each year.

Prior to the launch, Martins joined traffic officers manning a road block on the R71 road which leads to Moria.

The road usually carries a high traffic volume during the Easter holidays with most people going to Moria. Most pedestrians are knocked down by speeding vehicles on the same road.

At the roadblock, Martins assisted traffic officers in inspecting some of the vehicles and also checking drivers’ licenses.

Most of the motorists were seen with their seatbelts on while only a few did not have their seatbelts on.

Two vehicles were impounded at the roadblock for being unroadworthy and the drivers were issued with traffic fines.

Some of the motorists who SAnews spoke to said they were happy about the roadblock.

“This must be done more often to get rid of those unroadworthy vehicles that are killing people on our roads,” said one motorist Meshack Mthambi.

According to Martins, more traffic officers are going to be deployed in most of the country’s busiest roads during the Easter holidays.

“Pedestrians have been the main victims of road fatalities accounting for about 53 percent during the 2012 Easter period,” he said.

Alcohol has been identified as one of the causes of road fatalities followed by unroadworthy vehicles.

Martins also called on motorists to always ensure that they buckle-up and advised those who will be traveling long distances to stop at rest stops.

Deputy Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga also warned that traffic officers will be arresting those motorists who do not adhere to road regulations.

“We are going to enforce the law without fear or favour, if you drive without a valid driver’s license we are going to arrest you,” she said.

“Our message is clear, nobody is worth dying,” she said.

Various stakeholders in the transport sector supported the 2013 Easter Road Safety campaign.

SANTACO General Secretary Bafana Magagula said as the taxi industry, they will continue to ensure that taxi drivers adhere to road regulations and that their vehicles are roadworthy.

“We will also ensure that our patrollers are always on the roads to monitor our taxis,” he said.

The event was attended by all nine MECs for transport, national and provincial senior government officials and other representatives in the transport sector. –