JOINT STATEMENT BY WESTERN CAPE MINISTERS ROBIN CARLISLE (TRANSPORT AND PUBLIC WORKS), DAN PLATO (COMMUNITY SAFETY) AND THEUNS BOTHA (HEALTH)
Ministers launch Safely Home Road Safety Plan for the Easter Weekend
Minister Robin Carlisle
Minister of Transport and Public Works
Over the four days of the Easter Weekend in 2009, 21 people died. In 2010 the number was 28, while last year it dropped to seven. At the risk of sounding too optimistic, a zero fatality figure is within reach and should be our ultimate goal.
The figures for the entire month of April over the past three years stood at 132 in 2009, 115 in 2010 and 102 in 2011. We are aiming, with the assistance of responsible road users, to better our April 2011 figure this time around.
Last month – March 2012 – 92 people died on Western Cape roads. While still far too high, this is a 37% reduction on last year’s March figure of 147.
The average reduction in road fatalities, on a moving annual basis, from January 2009 to date, is 27.6%. While 1705 people died in 2008, over the past 12 months that number has dropped to 1259.
Fatigue management/ Public Transport Vehicles
Fatigue management operations are planned on all our major routes, as well as at the various weighbridges to promote commuter safety and fight driver fatigue. We have learnt from our forced fatigue management initiative during December/January 2011/2012, which led to a zero public transport death toll on the affected sections of the N1.
We will have a strong focus on public transport vehicles and our weighbridges and impoundment facilities are ready for action to be taken against illegal operators and un-roadworthy vehicles.
In order to identify and monitor the movement of public transport vehicles on the N1 and the N2, we have again implemented the color coded sticker project at weighbridges and long distance taxi ranks. This system of monitoring public transport vehicles at each roadblock along our major routes allows us to monitor speed, as well as driver fatigue.
Unmarked traffic patrol vehicles will be deployed to focus on moving violations and those found guilty will be prosecuted. Here we want to make a special appeal to those drivers who are taking their families on holiday to be extra vigilant on sections of road where overtaking could be dangerous. Rather get to your holiday destination a little bit later than not getting there at all.
Average speed over distance
The average speed over distance monitor system, which was installed on the R61 between Beaufort West and Aberdeen to address the high fatality rate there, will continue its work.
Number plate recognition
We are deploying vehicles equipped with the Number Plate Recognition system to assist Law Enforcement officials with the identification of those without or with fraudulent driver’s licenses, or warrants of arrest against them, as well as stolen vehicles operating on our roads.
We also want the public to be aware of the Provincial Traffic Radio Control number, 021 812 4581/2. Call immediately if you observe dangerous or reckless driving. Your call could save lives.
Safely Home activities to get our message across this Easter Weekend –
* Our partnership with the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) ‘Hlokomela’ (‘We care’ in Sotho) project, whose goal it is to ‘change the face of the taxi industry’, will be intensified. Industry leaders will be assisting our officials at ranks and road blocks to identify unroadworthy vehicles and address drivers on safety and the need for regular rests;
* Our department has engaged with the Retail Motor Industry (RMI), whose members have been providing free vehicle checks, since 28 March and until 5 April, for those who intend hitting the roads over the festive period.
* The Safely Home and our public transport safety and compliance teams will be out on the key routes to assist traffic officials at routine checks and to hand out safety awareness and fatigue avoidance leaflets.
* We have been assured that once again traffic officials will be focusing on child restraints.
A special appeal goes out to passengers on buses and taxis: report your drivers if they drive recklessly. We will ensure that as far as our resources allow, every call is followed up.
I would like to thank those many road users that have made the decision to stop drinking and driving, to slow down, to buckle themselves and their children up, and to stop using their cellphones. It is a small minority who are still doing the killing. I would like to urge this minority – let’s all take the side of safety, starting this Festive Season, and make sure that each and every one of us gets Safely Home.