At the launch of the Safely Home campaign on the N1 outside Paarl this morning, officers stopped hundreds of cars for routine checks during a blitz roadblock.
The provincial traffic department aims to continue a year-on-year decrease in traffic deaths over the festive season.
“This is an expression of what motorists can expect until the end of the month. We aim to stop 200 000 vehicles in December and January respectively,” said provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa.
Checks include driver and vehicle fitness checks and car searches for illegal substances such as drugs.
In the first hour of this morning’s roadblock, traffic officers detained an unlicensed driver who was transporting a dozen commuters in a taxi.
Africa added that there would be a strong focus on drunk driving, fatigue, pedestrian safety and encouraging back-seat passengers to buckle up.
BUCKLE UP AT THE BACK
“Studies show that 80 percent of road deaths come from back-seat passengers that travel without buckling up. This is something that we need to educate the public about,” he said, making reference to the horror crash on Sir Lowry’s Pass yesterday in which a family of three died in a head-on collision.
The family’s six-year-old boy, sitting in the back seat, was not wearing his seatbelt.
He was flung through the windshield and landed underneath another vehicle involved in the crash.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato attended the launch this morning to show his support for the province’s traffic officials during their busiest time of the year.
He also stressed that buy-in from the Western Cape community at large was indispensable to the Safely Home campaign’s success.
At the roadblock this morning, Plato assisted traffic officers in handing out disposable breathalyser kits to motorists, who were also encouraged to ensure that they were below the legal alcohol limit before they drove.
“If there is one message that I can give to motorists in the province this year, it is this – work with us, do your part too, we need you to help us make our roads safer. We cannot do it on our own,” he said.
In the 2011/2012 festive season, 257 people died on the province’s roads. -Cape Argus