Fallen traffic officer

2008-06-19 00:00

The family, friends and colleagues of Msunduzi Traffic Officer Desmond Hanson, killed last week in an attempt to stop an errant taxi driver, said their final farewells to him on Tuesday. A procession preceded the funeral service, after which a cavalcade went on to the Mountain Rise

Cemetery. Pietermaritzburg residents have reacted with sorrow and outrage to the death of this officer killed in the performance of his duty, and The Witness has been flooded with messages of condolence and of gratitude. His action seems especially outstanding in view of how often we look for, and fail to find, a traffic officer prepared to deal with incidents of dangerous or reckless driving.

And, of course, we see and experience these things daily, with taxis especially at fault: driven at high speeds, for example, or on the wrong side of the road or weaving wildly through dense traffic, or grossly overloaded, or in states of severe dilapidation: all contraventions that endanger the lives of passengers and other road users alike.

Given the aggression inherent in this driving behaviour, it’s perhaps unsurprising that individual traffic officers seem less than eager to face the drivers.

Fortunately, now, the traffic department’s taxi unit is up and running and already making some headway in apprehending bad drivers and eliminating unroadworthy vehicles.

It’s to be hoped that Hansen’s death will spur the unit to greater efforts to make the city’s roads safer for us all.

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