Govt to crack down on drunk drivers

2012-04-11 13:16

Johannesburg - More than 10 000 drivers will be screened for alcohol every month to curb road deaths, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Wednesday.

"We have noted with concern that continued lawlessness by road users requires constant monitoring, arrests and prosecution," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

"As a result, I have instructed that a minimum of 10 000 motorists be screened every month for alcohol, and drunk pedestrians must be arrested."

Think Pedestrian campaign

Ndebele was speaking at the launch of the Think Pedestrian campaign.

"Pedestrians alone account for nearly 40% of road fatalities annually, which is preventable," he said.

"The Think Pedestrian campaign is aimed at stabilising, then reducing these statistics through intensive awareness and education programmes for drivers and pedestrians."

The campaign was being conducted in conjunction with Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics, and the United Nations.

It would be introduced in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, and extended to the rest of the country later in the year.

Ndebele said "drinking and walking" was as dangerous as drinking and driving.

"There must be a level of predictability when someone is driving. If you see a man walking [on the side of the road], you think he is going to walk straight. That won't happen if he is drunk."

Ndebele said there had been a reduction in road accident deaths over the Easter period, but that this was not enough.

"There were at least 181 funerals... In other countries it would not happen, and we drive the same cars."

He said most of the accidents were caused by high speed, dangerous overtaking, fatigue, drinking and driving, and tyre failure.

More than 560 people were arrested for drunken driving, 226 for reckless or negligent driving and 117 for other road-related offences during the holiday.

Safe roads

He said many traffic officers and emergency services personnel went "beyond the call of duty" to keep roads safe during Easter.

"It is really quite touching. When we were patrolling with officers, they would carry on till late on the morning. I could only go until 01:00. We would share hamburgers and it would raise morale. Their presence is important," Ndebele said.

"Once, there were 37 cars abandoned near a roadblock. The drivers got out and ran away into the bushes. Mostly, it was for not having a licence or being drunk, but now that awareness is there."

He said drivers needed to be more tolerant of other road users, such as cyclists and joggers.

"We associate driving a car with maturity. Here, you are 18 [years-old] and you can put a government into power, but let's see if you can take a car without killing anyone."

He said people who died in accidents were important to their families and the country, and people needed to learn from their deaths.

"We are talking about breadwinners, young mothers, young fathers," he said.

"There is the saying that it is the living that close the eyes of the dead, but it is the dead who should open the eyes of the living."

  • Heiku - 2012-04-11 13:22

    They are going to arrest drunk pedestrians? That is BS

      Heiku - 2012-04-11 13:32

      I say that because I am a drunk pedestrian quite often. I walk to the pub.

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-11 13:41

      Ha ha. Just stop all taxis, impound the vehicle and charge the driver for driving without a licence (and probably drunk), and 90% of your problem solved.

      Kala - 2012-04-11 13:43

      So you can't drink and drive, drink and fly, drink and walk... Does crawling on all fours still classify you as a pedestrian?

      NrGx - 2012-04-11 13:46

      I agree - so say i go to a pub, and find im too drunk to drive, so i decide to walk, now i can get arrested for drinking and walking. utter rubbish! No law states that you cant drink and walk, the police can detain you till you are sober to walk, but CANNOT ARREST and open a case file! there is a difference in detaining someone and arresting!

      Alan - 2012-04-11 14:02

      somebody forgot to tell Sibusisu how much loot the Govt. makes out of booze! Then it also helps to subsidise the pension funds for corrupt cops who take bribes...

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-09-06 14:55

      @kala. Just wear a nappy and cry like a baby when they harrass you, and you should be OK.

  • misswoodcutter - 2012-04-11 13:26

    Thank goodness i read this article before tomorrow night!! but i'm sure one mojito is okay...right??? *thinking*

  • Spook - 2012-04-11 13:28

    I have to congratulate the minister on his idea. The comparison with overseas countries are also recommendable, but minister, overseas pedestrians are not allowed on the road, or to cross the road at all. Maybe if we bring back the rule that highways are for motorvehicles and not pedestrians we can minimise the pedestrian deaths. Yebo yes

  • Dennis - 2012-04-11 13:34

    This Sibusiso okie is brighter than a rocket scientist for coming up with such a sharp idea 18 years into democracy !!

  • VaMbozha - 2012-04-11 13:37

    ..then no money for the cops. Next time dont ask me to make a plan coz i will be damn sober!

  • Jono Sacks - 2012-04-11 13:38

    I think unroadworthy motor vechiles and fake drivers licenses should be more if a priority!!!!

  • Terence - 2012-04-11 13:43

    I drove from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and back over the recent holiday. On the Western Cape side, Traffic Police everywhere - went through at least 3 Road Blocks, Traffic Cops at intersections even in the small Dorps. On the Eastern Cape side - NOTHING.

      Alan - 2012-04-11 13:59

      your point is?

      Kala - 2012-04-11 14:08

      Your journey will be less hampered in the Eastern Cape.

      Steve - 2012-04-11 14:28

      Cops most likely hiding in one of the many potholes in the Eastern Cape. On a par with pissed pedestrians. Hit one of the potholes and see where you end up. Dodging potholes in the Eastern Cape has necessitated that a driver learn a whole new way of driving. All the swerving does not automatically mean the driver is wasted. Probably trying to avoid the many potholes. Try it sometime.

      Handy - 2012-04-11 16:46

      @Terence, the ANC like to keep the EC like that. They keep the roads bad and the people uneducated, so they can keep voting for them. Only the smart ones escape to the WC.

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-11 13:44

    The government keeps on fiddling around the problem instead of tackling the problem head-on. Arrest drunk pedestrians...and then what. Position yourselves around shebeens and other social hot-spots and you will have a far higher success rate.

      NrGx - 2012-04-11 13:53

      agreed, symptom of easy target syndrome.

      Alan - 2012-04-11 14:00

      yeah - bey hey - about 30 Taxi's, and they will have met the quota.

  • Aaron - 2012-04-11 13:44

    What a wonderful opportunity for the extortionist and rapists JMPD cops to expand their operations.

  • David - 2012-04-11 13:44

    This is a step in the right direction. They also need to focus on the Blue light bullies and get them to stick to the law. Also focus on all the unroadworthy vehicles and irresponsible Taxi drivers.

  • Xavier7034 - 2012-04-11 13:51

    Crack down on drunk drivers...and crack down on crack as well?

      Alan - 2012-04-11 14:00

      wise crack!

      Ze Don - 2012-04-11 14:20

      Speed kills... if you take too much! Then again this isn't punny.

      misswoodcutter - 2012-04-11 14:21

      you've just cracked me up!

      barend.wasserman - 2012-04-11 14:54

      Crack heads...

  • jackal666.daniel - 2012-04-11 13:54

    As long as they use proper equipment and give quick accurate results and not lock up innocent people in a cell over night. That happened to me and the tests came back negative.

  • Trotse - 2012-04-11 14:03

    Solution: Introduce Cheap Affordable and safe Transport services from the Bar's and clubs then this issue will go away/lessen. The problem is everyone is social in SA and getting home is the hardest and most risky part, unless you have a driver dropping everyone off the options are very limited. As for the drunk pedestrians, they do not need a "licence" to walk and if they are not walking in the road causing havok then why use the already stretched resources for this??, you cannot always stop an issue by outlawing it, otherwise its just like Apartheid.

      Gordon - 2012-04-11 15:02

      won't stop the idiot in his old 3 series or honda who thinks 200kmh is acceptable.

  • ReportMe - 2012-04-11 14:06

    Report bad driving online:

  • barry.dogg.fritz - 2012-04-11 14:09

    why do they not crack down on the bad drivers as well , i have seen a few incidents of people contravening the roads act with a orrificer present and they do nothing about it

  • Carol - 2012-04-11 14:11

    Well, this is a start towards curbing deaths on the road ... still a lot further needs to be done to reverse the devil-may-care attitude of drivers

      Stanley - 2012-04-11 15:35

      I agree 100000000000% with u...too many innocent people are dying because of some drivers who feel a f¤k for others. If government is serious about this,I would gladly volunteer to be screened every month!

  • eleanore.hill - 2012-04-11 14:17

    Oh super. They have been cracking down already for ages, in some small places so badly people don't even try and go out at night and restaurants etc. have suffered. It hasn't really brought down road deaths has it? Last I heard accidents where soaring over December What about unroadworthy cars, taxi's specifically. People who cross roads as if they own it, and couldn't be bothered to check road rules, and then shoot a dirty look at road users who have the right of way. In the townships you can bet your bottom dollar that a taxi will stop only briefly at a red robot,and then drive over. Drunk Driving statistically is not such a big contributor to road deaths, yet we only seem to focus on it. Good luck on bringing it down. So far your campaign has managed not to work. Maybe its time for some new ideas or a new approach? Drunk Driving isn't the only problem you know!

  • Ryan - 2012-04-11 14:28

    Tackle the real problem: Stupid barely functional corrupt ,racist government who cant see the leaves for the trees.

  • thabi0209 - 2012-04-11 14:29

    they will arrest drunk pedestrians - i'm a pedestrian wat is the legal alcohol limit? coz i don't want to be caught WALKING over the limit haahaahaa thats a BS campaing.

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-09-06 15:02

      @thabio209: Yes, be careful, you might lose your right to walk anywhere!

  • Tony - 2012-04-11 14:31

    I think a lot of accidents happen at intersections/traffic lights. I have never seen any police presence at an intersection. It is probably not as profitable and requires more wek!

  • Soon - 2012-04-11 14:38

    praat praat praat en doen niks ,ek bly in n dorp in limpopo op die hoek van die hoofstraat by n robot,en ek het my verkyk aan die bestuurders wat maandag terug gekeer het, daar is geen maar geen ontsag vir ander of die wet nie ry oor die rooi robot en sommer in die aankomende verkeer se kant die mense wat probeer ordentlik ry, en ja daar is ook van hulle moet net koes en padgee en hoeveel is afgetrek ? wel ek het nie een gesien nie

  • barend.wasserman - 2012-04-11 14:52

    O.K... What about the idiots crossing or walking next to the highways? They put themselves and other road users in great danger. There's regular accidents like these on the R59 and N1 and nobody seems to care. I have seen police themselves drive past these people and not doing anything about it. All of us who did our licenses learned that on our learners test. One thing not allowed on the highway is pedestrians amongst other things.

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-04-11 14:59

    Will this apply to government officials too? Or are they exempt?

      Tony - 2012-04-11 15:44

      Exempt - why do you ask? :)

  • Handy - 2012-04-11 16:42

    Start with arresting the pedestrians on the N1 walking around at night. How often do I see a cop drive past them and do nothing?

  • leonardjwright - 2012-04-11 19:43

    Sure arrest a drunk hobo walking in the street drunk and high on anything he can find. But surely they can't arrest a sensible person who had a few over the limit and has decided to walk home, or perhaps to a public transport stop. Even in the UK they don't arrest inebriated pedestrians on a pub crawl as long as they aren't in the middle of the road!

      tshepo.thinane.9 - 2012-10-08 11:31

      let them stop coppying from the outside countries and start doing what they think will SA citizens. How can they arrest a walking drunk pedestrain? How dangerous is he to the public ? I park my car and go to the pub walking then I get arrested. let the minister think twice before talking

  • tshepo.thinane.9 - 2012-10-08 11:27

    If the Minister can deal with his corrupt cops not to take bribery, they will win the case of drunken driver, unroadworthy vehicles, illegal drivers and the entire corruption.

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