Sleepy drivers: Key seizures lawful

2012-12-10 22:17
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Cape Town - Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said on Monday it would be legal for authorities to confiscate keys and force tired drivers to rest as the province moves to lower the number of accidents caused by fatigue.

There had been confusion over whether the practice would be legal, after comments Carlisle had made to the Cape Times.

He was quoted in the newspaper on Monday as saying: "I have no idea, but I don't care either... We've got no option but to pull out all the stops, whether illegal or legal... I just don't know what else to do than to become very rough."

Carlisle said he regretted the remarks, as it made it seem as though he was not certain what the law was, but would act regardless of what it said.

"I feel very passionate about road safety, and deeply concerned about the current carnage.

However, I always operate within the law, and I apologise for my comments. I am glad to now confirm that we would, indeed, be acting fully within the law.

Carlisle said based on the opinion of traffic officers, drivers who were fatigued would be asked to park in a safe area and their keys kept from them for four hours.

Once the four hours had elapsed, their keys would be returned so they could resume their journey.

This measure would be implemented only if there was not another licensed and capable person in the vehicle to take over the driving.

The MEC said the National Road Traffic Act empowered officers to stop people from driving if they were incapable at the time, either physically or mentally.

According to Carlisle, 59 people had been killed on provincial roads in the first nine days of this month.

This figure was higher than the same period in the past three years.

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