File picture: Cara Viereckl / Independent Media.

Cape Town - Dozens of motorists were arrested for drunk-driving in Cape Town over the weekend, and drivers should brace themselves for a series of roadblocks and more visible policing on the roads in the run-up to the festive season.

City law enforcement officers would increase both the number of roadblocks and the visibility of traffic officers on the roads over this period, mayoral committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith said on Monday.

However, he added that plans for the formal Readiness Campaign to control and police traffic over the festive season had not yet been finalised.

According to a statement issued on Monday by the City of Cape Town, 51 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Delft, 13 in Diep River, 11 in Pinelands, 18 in Kuils River and six in Steenberg over the weekend.

Still a top killer

Smith said drunk-driving remained one of the biggest killers on the roads in the city.

“Alcohol and speed remain the top killers on our roads and it is disheartening to see that so many drivers still drink and get

behind the wheel,” said Smith. “We are intensifying our enforcement efforts in the run-up to the festive season and will take a zero-tolerance approach to this behaviour.

“I want to warn all drivers who think they can disregard the road laws and compromise the safety of other residents that we will be out there and we will not hesitate to enforce the laws.”

Smith said the K78 Integrated Roadblock Unit (IRU), which was launched last year, would be expanded. He said out of each 30 drunk-driving arrests, about 25 fell through the cracks due to cases not being placed on the roll and the results of blood tests not coming in on time.

Lack of meaningful consequences

“Drunk-drivers will need to brace themselves for increased roadblocks over the next two months. The shocking stats this weekend indicate that the message is not getting through because of the lack of meaningful consequences.”

On Friday, during a Metro police peak-hour operation focusing on public transport vehicles driving off-route, a taxi driver almost knocked down an officer when ordered to pull over.

“The taxi sped off and the officers gave chase. The taxi driver disobeyed road signs and drove recklessly, despite having commuters in the vehicle. The officers managed to get the driver to stop the taxi and arrested him for attempted murder and reckless and negligent driving,” said Smith.

In another incident on Saturday, a member of the IRU who was on the way home after an operation in Pinelands spotted a BMW on the N2 outgoing between the R300 and Borchards Quarry driving on the wrong side of the roadway.

The female driver was arrested for drunk-driving as well as reckless and negligent driving. On the same day in the Pinelands area, officers arrested another female drunk-driver they spotted driving on the wrong side of the road.

Cape Argus

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