Traffic officers will be tough on offenders

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rustenburg - Motorists in the North West have been warned to be responsible on the roads during the Easter holidays or face the might of the law.

Speaking at the launch of the provincial Arrive Alive Road Safety Campaign on Tuesday, MEC for Transport, Roads and Community Safety, Phenye Vilakazi said traffic officers were more than ready to deal with the increase in traffic as well as those who break the law.

"Through the Arrive Alive campaign we will continue to fight the unnecessary loss of human life during this period which is synonymous with many religious and holiday activities. We are ready to take action in a regular and effective manner," he said.

MEC Vilakazi indicated that despite the many successes the campaign had registered in the past, the province continued to witness many tragedies on its roads.

"We all know that we can do better. Communities and individuals must take responsibility for their behaviour and the behaviour of their families and friends in order for the province to have a successful reduction in deaths," the MEC said.

He said 90 percent of the fatalities on the roads were as a result of a traffic violation.

Last year, the national road deaths toll during the Easter holidays decreased from a total of 319 in 2007 to 243 in 2008.

In the North West, the province managed to reduce the Easter weekend deaths from 21 in 2007 to 19 in 2008. This number included the death of five drivers, eight passengers and six pedestrians.

This, the MEC said, shows that almost half of the accidents were caused by speed, which contributed 44 percent of these accidents.

The second main cause of accidents is jaywalking and hit and runs, which contributed 17 percent.

"If we scrutinise the statistics even further you will realise that 71 percent of the fatal accidents during last year's Easter period were caused by drivers either violating the traffic laws or out of sheer negligence," he said.

More than 70 percent of the fatal accidents occurred in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati and Dr Kenneth Kaunda district municipalities, while Ngaka Modiri Molema and Bojanala Platinum district municipalities contributed just over 28 percent combined.

He said this year they would continue to enhance positive driver behaviour and attitude, increase awareness about road traffic safety issues to drivers, passengers, pedestrians and livestock owners; reduce road crashes and fatalities, and create fatigue management strategies.