File picture: Cara Viereckl / Independent Media.

Pretoria - Government will intensify law enforcement on the roads in an effort to rid the roads of “bad elements”, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Saturday.

Weekend road crashes and fatalities continued to increase on the roads and human factors were mostly to blame, she said in a statement.

Among others, on Friday, seven people died and four were injured in a collision between a car and a bakkie on the P68 between St Faiths and Highflats in southern KwaZulu-Natal, she said. Although the precise cause of this particular crash was still under investigation, most crashes were characterised by speeding, overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic, hit-and-run and driving under the influence of alcohol, and not wearing seat belts.

The Minister also mentioned a national road safety strategy, intended to highlight the main factors which were often the root cause of crashes and deaths on the roads. On the legislative side, the department is still promising to introduce the long-overdue AARTO legislation, which would allocate demerit points to traffic offenders.

The department, through all its road entities - the RTMC, RTIA, Sanral and the RAF - in collaboration with the SAPS, was determined to reduce the unacceptable high number of crashes and deaths on the roads.

Patrolling hazardous routes

“Every province has put in place plans to ensure that we achieve a 50 percent reduction in fatalities and crashes based on last year's figures. Part of our plans, which includes highly visible traffic law enforcement patrols on all known hazardous routes and roving law enforcement operations in hotspots, including built-up areas such as suburbs, townships, and villages, [have] continued since we launched our 365 day road safety campaign.

“We will continue paying special focus on private motor vehicles and light delivery vehicles. Statistics indicate that these vehicles together contribute to more than 56 percent of collisions on the roads. There will be an intense focus [on] moving violations of traffic regulations by these vehicles and the instructions have been issued to traffic officers to arrest those who drive recklessly and negligent and use excessive speed,” she said.

More attention would also be paid to passenger and pedestrian safety, because statistics indicated that passengers and pedestrians together constituted 70 percent of road deaths. “To deal with [the] scourge, heavy fines will be issued for every passengers not wearing a seatbelt and child who is not in a child restraint. Road safety officers will be placed at points where pedestrians cross busy roads and cause crashes,” Peters warned.

African News Agency (ANA)

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