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67 000 drag racers fined in 3 years

In three years the city of Cape Town issued 67 000 fines for illegal drag racing – a staggering 53 593 for speeding.

Now dicers are moving out of the city limits and into municipalities because of the clampdown.

The Ghost Squad carried out an operation on drag racers in Montagu Gardens. Picture: Matthew Jordaan. Credit: Independent Newspapers

Adrian Long, the traffic services principal inspector for technical services, said they were getting calls from as far afield as George and Beaufort West asking for advice on how to deal with drag racing.

In 2009 traffic services, involving the Ghost Squad, started its operation against illegal drag racing after numerous complaints from the public.

In a three-month period last year more than 4500 street racers were bust for speeding in Cape Town. During one operation in February 700 people were caught in speed traps on Vanguard Drive.

Drag racing typically happens over weekends. Popular drag racing strips around the city include Klipfontein Road in Athlone, Vanguard Drive, the industrial area in Atlantis and the M5.

DEADLY ENCOUNTERS

The police are investigating the role played by two dicers in top-of- the-range cars in a crash involving a taxi. This week four people were killed when a taxi rolled on the M5 close to the Kenilworth off-ramp.

Before traffic service’s clampdown there would be up to 500 dragsters and spectators at one point.

Now they operate in groups of between 10 to 15.

People contact each other using social media, do a quick race and leave.

Long said dicers had also moved out of the city because of the focus on them. “I am aware of quite a lot of activity in the Saldanha and Malmesbury areas and I am also receiving queries from as far as George and Beaufort West asking advice on how to deal with drag racing, which has become an increasing problem in their areas over the last year or two.”

67 000 FINES ISSUED:

- 53 593 fines were for “excessive speeding”.

- 1687 vehicles were suspended for unroadworthiness.

- Traffic services nabbed 4061 unlicensed drivers.

- 2024 unlicensed vehicles.

- For “defective” tyres, 1248 fines were issued.

- 680 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence.

- Officers issued 613 fines for “defective” lights.

- Another 600 fines were written out for people not wearing safety belts.

- 52 people were arrested on charges including drug possession and stolen vehicles.

Hundreds of fines were issued for motorists who disobeyed red traffic lights, parked illegally and where brakes did not work.

Story: Cape Argus

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