Hermanus Times

Provincial Minister of Mobility cautiously optimistic about the festive season

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The traffic in Hermanus this Festive Season.
The traffic in Hermanus this Festive Season.
Bianca Du Plessis

 The Safely Home theme for December is Alcohol and Roads Don’t Mix and the Department of Transport and Public Works are concerned that this week, 82 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence and 13 pedestrians were killed in crashes.

While any fatality is of great concern the festive season has started without any major incidents on the province’s roads and they are cautiously optimistic that this trend will continue. “While I am grateful to our provincial traffic officers for arresting a number of drunk drivers, that very number is concerning,” said Dr Ivan Meyer, acting Provincial Minister of Mobility. “It is unacceptable that a small number of irresponsible drivers are compromising road safety for all road users,” he added.

According to the department the consuming alcohol, even in small amounts, and then walking, cycling or driving is very dangerous. They emphasise that crashes involving drivers and pedestrians under the influence are no accident. "Blood alcohol concentration tests on the bodies of people killed in road crashes show that, whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist or driver, your risk of dying in a road crash is higher if you have been drinking. Alcohol impairs processes critical to safe road use, such as vision and reaction time, it is also associated with poor judgement, and is often linked to other high-risk road use behaviors such as speeding or not using seatbelts," the department stated in a press release.

Western Cape Provincial Traffic Services implemented a total of 320 integrated roadblocks, vehicle check point and speed control operations across the province in the week of 12 to 18 December, and 39 283 vehicles were stopped and checked. A total of 14 308 fines were issued for various traffic violations ranging from driver to vehicle fitness. Altogether 42 vehicles were impounded and 222 were discontinued for unroadworthiness. A total of 186 speeding offences were recorded.

The highest speeds recorded this week were as follows: 160 km/h in a 120 km/h zone; 134 km/h in a 100 km/h zone; 124 km/h in an 80 km/h zone and 90 km/h in a 60 km/h zone.

In terms of the National Road Traffic Act and Criminal Procedure Act A a total of 130 arrests were made for the following offences: 82 x driving under the influence of alcohol; 16 x reckless and negligent driving; 22 x possession of fraudulent documentation; 4 x bribery; 1 x threatening/ suggesting use of violence/injuries/damage to property of peace officer's relatives or himself/ herself/ their property; 1 x failure to furnish information; 1 x unroadworthy vehicle; 1 x possession of and illegal substance, 1 x failing to stop after an accident; 1 x obstructing or hindering an authorised officer in the execution of his/ her duty.

A total of 21 crashes occurred in the reporting period, and 22 fatalities were recorded: 6 x drivers; 3 x passengers and 13 x pedestrians. “I urge all motorists to adhere to the speed limit, ensure that all vehicle occupants are wearing their safety belts, take regular rest stops every 200km or two hours, and slow down when there are pedestrians at the side of the road. Keep yourself and others safe,” said Meyer. 

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