Western Cape road deaths drop, speeding and drunk driving persist while cooldrink is offered as bribe

2020-01-29 19:24
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Festive season road deaths in the Western Cape decreased by 22.7% in 2019/2020, according to statistics released by Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela.

Madikizela said on Monday that the number of road deaths dropped from 207 in 2018 to 160 in 2019.

He attributed the decrease to several initiatives and programmes.

The statistics further revealed that 74 people - almost half of the 160 killed - were pedestrians. They were killed between December 1, 2019 and January 15 2020.

Meanwhile, there was an increase in the number of vehicles that entered the province to 5 447 719 from 4 908 481 in 2018.

Officials believe visitors returned to Cape Town after the drought was over.

During the festive season, 493 people were arrested for drunk driving and 19 pedestrians were arrested for being drunk on the roads.

Thirty-five motorists were arrested for trying to bribe traffic officers when they were stopped for offences such as overloading and operating public transport vehicles without a permit.

The bribery range seemed to be between "a cooldrink" and R500 and officers were commended for not playing along.

One of the speed infractions was for driving 187km/h in a 100km/h zone in the Laingsburg area and the highest alcohol reading recorded was 1.84mg/1 000ml in the Mossel Bay area - seven times more than the legal limit.

Madikizela explained that the Western Cape's Department of Transport and Public Works had a system where it received daily updates on crash fatalities that were matched with forensic pathology reports, before they were checked with the police. It also added the number of people who died in hospital within 30 days of a crash. 

He thanked traffic officers for their hard work over the festive season, as well as SA Police Service officers who worked with them during roadblocks. 

He said changes to overtime pay and overtime thresholds meant they could have more officers on the road for longer periods, including at night.

He is lobbying for a 24-hour shift system to have traffic officers on the road at all times - not just during office hours - because this was shown to make a difference. 

At a briefing on national festive season traffic statistics last Thursday, Road Traffic Management Corporation CEO advocate Makhosini Msibi said there were several factors that led to pedestrians' deaths.

These included drunk drivers losing control and hitting pedestrians, unroadworthy vehicles veering off roads and crashing into pedestrians and jaywalking.

Read more on:    bonginkosi madikizela  |  cape town  |  festive season  |  accidents
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