Transport authorities have slated drivers for continuing to drive while under the influence of liquor, saying 60 to 65 percent of all road fatalities, specially those over weekends, are as a result of alcohol abuse by motorists.
In a statement the Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) called for drastic interventions and a complete mind-shift on the part of road-users to curtail the carnage.
Crashes have claimed more than 1 000 lives since December 1 and left many others injured.
In the statement, Transport Minister Ben Martins, added: “Since the beginning of the festive season, just over 2 000 motorists have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. These are people who deliberately ignore the dangers associated with driving under the influence of alcohol and go on to endanger the lives of other road-users. Many other moving violations such as dangerous overtaking and excessive speeding at times have alcohol abuse as a common denominator”. Drinking and walking (jay walking) by pedestrians is another major challenge that requires urgent attention. At least 40 percent of road fatalities recorded annually in SA involve pedestrians. “(Law enforcement officers) can only succeed in their efforts if they get the necessary co-operation and support from the very same people whose lives they are trying to save: members of the public. We therefore call on road users, motorists, passengers and pedestrians alike to play their part in ensuring that we put a halt to any further loss of lives on our roads,” said Transport deputy Minister Sindi Chikunga. The RTMC, provincial and local traffic authorities will be out in full force to ensure law and order on our roads and pay special attention to people driving under the influence of alcohol, excessive speeding, dangerous overtaking and other violations.
Speed limits along hazardous locations/routes will be enforced through hand-held cameras, fixed cameras, average speed monitoring and through Moving Violation Recorders in marked and unmarked traffic vehicles.
“No person who takes alcohol in excess and still drives deserves to be on our roads. Such people should be taken away to a place wherein their barbaric deeds won’t endanger the lives of other law-abiding citizens,” said Martins. As part of the RTMC’s “Woza Retest” campaign, drivers found guilty in a court of law of drinking and driving, excessive speeding and reckless or negligent driving will be subjected to a retest of both their learner’s and driver’s licences to ensure competence, compliance and rehabilitation if they wish to continue driving, the statement added. - Cape Argus