War waged on bad drivers

2018-10-30 06:01
Photo: Stock Image

Photo: Stock Image

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Law Enforcement officials are hard at work to curb drunk and negligent driving in the Metro, with special operations being held in focus areas across the Cape.

“As the weather heats up, traffic offenders can be assured that so does the City’s clampdown on drivers who insist on breaking the law. This weekend, drag racing and drunk driving operations across the city led to several arrests,” says Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith, in a statement.

Among these specialised operations was a drag racing operation held in the Mitchell’s Plain, Athlone and Table View areas respectively on Saturday 20 October.

The operation yielded 14 arrests and of these offenders, eight suspects were arrested for drunk driving with another six arrested for negligent driving.

Several other arrests were also made in the Strandfontein area, says City Traffic Services spokesperson, Richard Coleman.

The Drunk Driving Awareness Unit conducted a number of roadblocks and arrested 32 suspects, 28 of them for driving under the influence of alcohol and four for outstanding warrants, and in addition issued 371 fines for various other offences.

Of the 28 drunk drivers arrested, 26 suspects were arrested in Strandfontein, and a further 1054 fines were issued for various other offences.

“The arrests were made on Spine Road,” says Coleman. “Four [fines were also issued] for unlicensed drivers and 1050 were for speeding offences.”

The City has also kept a watchful eye on drag racing offenders in the area, prompting the drag race operation.

At this stage, the City has noted illegal street racing hotspots including Eisleben Road, Wespoort Drive, Jakes Gerwel Drive and on the R300 between the N2 and Jakes Gerwel Drive.

“There are various events that take place in Mitchell’s Plain which we commonly place under the banner of drag racing but in fact they are quite different events,” says Coleman.

Other than racing, these include spinning – where vehicles spin around within a confined area usually until the wheels pop, causing a lot of noise and smoke; park-offs – normally done at malls or schools where clubs get together to showcase their vehicles and whatever upgrades or modifications they have made to their vehicles, and drifting – done on long open roads like the R300 and which is extremely dangerous due to counter-steering driving techniques. This does not occur often though, says Coleman­.

“All these events attract large crowds but probably the biggest crowds are the spinning groups normally done on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon which can attract crowds of 2000 to 3000 spectators,” he says.

He says that these events, with the exception of park-offs, are extremely dangerous for several reasons.

“Illegal street racing is extremely dangerous as drivers are racing on a public road at high speeds. They are not professional drivers nor do they have any form of training. Participants are also driving among normal members of the community who are not expecting this sort of behaviour on our roads and often get a fright which can have a disastrous affect. There are no safety barriers, no qualified fire or safety marshals, no medical personnel for such an event, and the event has not been approved by the City of Cape Town Events Committee,” says Coleman.

Spinning poses a risk as it is done very close to spectators.

“As a matter of fact, the spectators try and get as close to a vehicle or even touch the vehicles while they are spinning around. Once again, no safety measures have been put in place.

“Drifting is probably the most dangerous as vehicles veer left and right at high speeds and then the trick is to counter-steer and control your vehicle as it skids along the road surface. Once again, this is not done in a controlled environment with the necessary safety measures in place,” says Coleman­.

As the festive season approaches, officials will intensify their efforts to see drink-free roads.

“The penalties that the drivers face include receiving a criminal record for reckless driving, as drunken driving and reckless driving are the two traffic offences that carry a criminal record. Drivers’ vehicles might be suspended for not complying with the regulations of the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 or the South African National Standards where modifications to vehicles are illegal if travelling on a public road,” says Coleman.

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