CAPE TOWN – Western Cape MEC of Transport and Public Works, Daylin Mitchell said he was seriously concerned about the high number of drunk drivers arrested in the province.
Mitchell has called for caution this week leading up to New Year and celebrations to be had.
“We are expecting huge traffic volumes on our roads and our responses range from providing support to close or repair roads under our jurisdiction in case of emergencies like inclement weather, to traffic law enforcement.
“I am seriously concerned about the high number of drunk drivers arrested last week. If you are caught driving under the influence, you could land up with a criminal record. Driving when you have been drinking is dangerous, regardless of how much, or how little, you drink. Alcohol affects your judgement and slows down your ability to respond in an emergency. You are likely to drive faster than you usually do, and less carefully.
“An error of judgement may mean killing or injuring someone on the road, in another vehicle, or in your own vehicle. The mistake you make in a moment could lead to a lifetime of regret,” Mitchell said.
In the past week, Western Cape Provincial Traffic Services implemented 190 integrated roadblocks, vehicle checkpoints and speed control operations across the province.
A total of 34 685 vehicles were stopped and checked.
A total of 279 speeding offences were recorded and 5 873 fines were issued for various traffic violations amounting in total to R8 701 250.
Officials impounded 39 vehicles and 134 vehicles were discontinued for unroadworthiness.
The highest speed recorded during operations was a motorists going 163 km/h in a 120 km/h zone.
In line with the National Road Traffic Act, Criminal Procedures Act and the Disaster Management Act, officials arrested 68 suspects on offences which included driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless and negligent driving, speeding, possession of fraudulent documentation, bribery, crimen injuria, possession of illegal substances and defeating the ends of justice.
During the period of December 20 until 27, 55 people have died on the province's roads,and a total of 35 crashes were recorded.
While Mitchell urges motorists not to drink and drive, he also urges pedestrians not to drink and walk.
“Don’t drink and walk. Find a safer way to get home. Of the pedestrians who die in crashes and are tested for alcohol, over half have been drinking and about 40% of those are drunk.
“More than three times as many pedestrians die in crashes on Saturdays than on Wednesdays. Young men between the ages of 20 and 29 years are most vulnerable,” he added.