KZN set for Easter road safety blitz

2011-04-21 00:00

MOTORISTS who plan to go on a drinking spree during the Easter holiday have been warned to drink at home and stay away from the roads because roadblocks will be the order of the day throughout KwaZulu-Natal.

That was the warning from the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, during the launch of the road safety Easter holiday campaign held at Etshelimnyama Sports Ground in Pinetown yesterday.

Mchunu also urged churchgoers to ensure that their bus and taxi drivers get enough rest before driving home after the long weekend.

The campaign was opened with prayers from various denominations to ask for divine mercy and protection ahead of the Easter weekend.

The theme of this year’s campaign is “Accidents do not happen, they are caused”.

The launch started with a “walk for safety” from Etshelimnyama Clinic to the sports ground and a new evidence centre was opened in Pinetown. Three other evidence centres are operating at the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) offices in Braid Street, Pietermaritzburg, Umdloti and Port Shepstone. More than 400 motorists have been arrested at these centres for drunk driving.

Stakeholders from various law enforcement agencies, non-government organisations, tavern owners, South African Breweries and the taxi industry all offered messages of support to the Department of Transport (DOT) in its efforts to reduce road deaths in the province and nationally.

Some suggested that traffic officers work around the clock duringthe peak traffic periods on provincial roads.

The taxi industry pledged its support and said its members will abide by the rules of the road.

Mchunu said that all traffic officers will be deployed over this high- risk period.

“Night patrols have been identified along major corridors to detect deviant driver behaviour and risk-taking.”

Emergency vehicles will be at strategic points along the major routes. The MEC for Health, Sbongiseni Dhlomo, said the emergency vehicles “are an entry point into health system services when people are under life-threatening circumstances.”

 

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has also urged road users to do the right thing and obey all road rules this Easter.

“From tomorrow (today ) until 2 May 2011, traffic volumes on the country’s roads will increase as South Africans celebrate Easter, Freedom Day and Workers Day. We call upon all road users to do the right thing and obey all road rules. Driving with the headlights on during the day has proven to reduce vehicle crashes. We therefore urge motorists to drive with their headlights on at all times and make our roads safe...” he said.

 

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