No hiding from Highway Ghost Squad

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IOL mot nov15 ghost squad Independent Newspapers The Ghost Squad vehicles have built in license plate recognition cameras that can scan license plates as the car drives through traffic. File photo: David Ritchie.

The Highway Ghost Squad has recorded just under 2000 offences on Cape Town’s major roads in just five weeks.

It started operating in October and has already issued 1972 fines on roads including the N2, N1, R300 and M5.

In just one week last month, more than 700 offences were recorded.

Focus areas of the new unit will include the R300 between the N1 and Vanguard Drive and the M5 between the N1’s Koeberg Interchange and Sunrise Circle.

The M3 between Jutland Avenue and Steenberg Road will be another focus area, as well as the N2 from Sir Lowry’s Pass to Hospital Bend, including Nelson Mandela Boulevard.

BEWARE OF THE HULK

IOL mot nov15 highway hulk The new traffic police control station, the Hulk, as well as the Ghost Squad unit made their debut at a roadblock on the M5 yesterday Picture: Thomas Holder Independent Newspapers

The city yesterday officially launched the Highway Ghost Squad as well as the traffic service’s new 26-wheel vehicle, the “Hulk”.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, said there had been an increase in the number of motorists on the roads. In turn there were more traffic offences.

Maxine Jordaan, head of the Highway Ghost Squad, said motorists driving in the N2’s bus lane and failing to wear seatbelts were some of the biggest problems on highways.

She said people driving over the barrier lines was another common offence.

There were 477 bus lane offences, 254 fines for people not wearing seat-belts, and 229 motorists were caught without driving licences.

Smith said officers found around 30 000 unlicenced drivers on city roads every month.

At yesterday’s launch along the M5, motorists were pulled over so that officers could check driving licences and whether vehicles were roadworthy. Several drivers with outstanding warrants were also nabbed.

One of these, an Athlone man, was arrested. He had five arrest warrants worth over R4000 to his name.

The new “Hulk” vehicle will soon be processing cases like this. It is fitted with computer systems which link to the eNatis database. This means it will be able to check the validity of driving licences and process warrants.

Smith said there would also be a nurse on board for blood tests in drunk-driving cases. It was donated to the city and will be used at roadblocks and in special operations. -Cape Argus



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