DA cautions road users ahead of festive season

Pule Thole, MPL

DA Provincial Spokesperson on Transport, Safety and Liaison

The DA is concerned about the road accidents on the province’s roads especially as the festive season approaches where many holiday makers will spend a lot of time traveling.

According to the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison in the Northern Cape just between January and June 2014, a total of 4 324 accidents were recorded with 170 fatalities which included 7 781 people.

It is extremely worrying to note these figures we cannot accept that so many people die on our roads. These figures should be reduced significantly through rigorous law enforcement campaigns to ensure that we create safer road across the Northern Cape.

It is also concerning that most of the road carnage on our roads is due to, but not limited to the (a) abuse of alcohol by both drivers and pedestrians, (b) speeding too high for particular circumstances leading to loss control and or inability to avoid hazards, (c) use of cellphones while driving and not wearing seat-belts, (d) dangerous overtaking at barrier line and or overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic and (e) vehicle fitness: such as defective tyres as well as fatigue; no resting after about 200 km of travelling and overnight driving etc.

These contributing factors are avoidable and require a comprehensive approach to change attitudes, perception and habits of all road users.

The DA appeals to all road users to obey and respect all road rules and drive with caution rest where possible and be patient especially during the festive season.

We also call on the police and traffic officers to be more visible on the roads and enforce the law at all times.  No stone should be left unturned to deal with those who disobey road rules, they should face the full might of the law.

Meanwhile the DA welcomes the proposed intervention from the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) to introduce safety measures aimed at reducing the high rate of crashes particularly fatal accidents in the Kimberley area. We have noted serious accidents on our roads specifically on the intersections on the N12, N8 and R357 as well as the notorious R31 to Barkley West.

The DA has also noted road safety campaigns and outreach programs carried out by the department that reached more than 10 000 people such as door-door, roadblocks, inter denominational church services, pedestrian safety campaigns, cyclists safety as well the establishment of regional road safety council across the province.

We believe more still needs to be done in order to reach more people and we are concerned that the department’s budget of just more than R2 million for road safety programs is not enough to fulfill this role.

More Vehicle Check Points need to be held in the province to minimize road fatalities as well as more integrated road blocks to ensure road safety compliance.  Law enforcement agencies should be well capacitated and resourced in order to render efficient and effective services. Ours should be a comprehensive action plan going forward if we seriously want to deal with road safety in the province.