There is no traffic policing in South Africa between 10pm and 6am, Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) acting CEO Collins Letsoalo said on Tuesday.
“Our statistics show that most of the road crashes happened between 7pm and 12 midnight when our officers are not there,” he said.
“When we say let’s remove the legacy and move to a 24-hour service, people say: 'Where is the money?'
“Even if they work at night, it is skeleton staff. Which means, effectively, between 10pm and 6am there is no law enforcement on the road.”
Letsoalo was speaking on the sidelines of a road safety conference in Boksburg.
DRUNKS ON THE LOOSE
He said the provincial authorities, save for the Western Cape, worked only from 6am to 10pm, leaving speedsters and drunk drivers on the loose between these times.
He said this approach to road policing had been inherited from a time when there were fewer people on the roads at night, and there were fewer cars on the road.
“Now we want a 24-hour service. The question that we must ask ourselves is, if accidents cost the economy R307 billion a year, I’m sure there should be money to save that money through that process increasing officers during the night.”
Letsoalo said the RTMC had 17 000 officers nationally, and that 10 000 of them were based in Gauteng. The Road Accident Fund (RAF) spent R14bn a year in payouts.
“I’m sure that at some point it makes more sense to prevent what RAF is paying out. That is our view.”
Letsoalo presented to delegates the country’s strategy to reduce road fatalities by 20 percent a year. Law enforcement topped the priorities in the strategy.
A study conducted by RTMC had shown that if the country increased its seatbealt wearing to 70 percent, road deaths would be reduced by 30 percent.
At present 14 000 people a year died on South Africa's roads. Second on the strategy priorities was the fight against drunk driving.
“Our problem is that there has been a low rate of conviction of drivers arrested for being drunk and driving. It is less than 10 percent.”
The past year, 13 000 people were arrested on the road and about 3000 of that figure was for drunken driving, he said.
“This means only 300 of those will end up being convicted.” -Sapa