The Cape’s notorious winter season is well upon us, bringing with it wet and dangerous road conditions, that have come to characterise this period. Over this time, we will see increased traffic volumes over long weekends and the upcoming school holidays. As we launch our operational plan today, we are confident that, with the help and partnership of all road users and traffic law enforcement agencies, we will be able to ensure safe travel on our roads, as well as encourage increased compliance from all road users.
Our operational plan will span 1st June 2014 till 31st August 2014, where we will be partnering with; the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Municipal Traffic Authorities; The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), SANRAL, and the RTMC; as well as our Provincial departments of Community Safety, Health, Agriculture and Education. Together, our collective efforts will be focussed on:
• Driver fitness
• Vehicle fitness
• Safety and compliance
• Seatbelt compliance
• Alcohol and fatigue management
• Visibility and moving violations
• Dangerous road user behaviour
• Speed enforcement
• Load management
• Safety awareness
• Transportation of illegal substances
The operational plan will consist of K78 roadblocks, vehicle check points, alcohol blitzes, and operations focussing on fatigue, speed, learner transport, public transport, and pedestrian safety. All of these will amount to close to 900 operations over the three month period.
Our fatigue management initiative continues to yield very positive results through its focus on long distance public transport as well as private vehicles travelling long distances. Since the start of the project on 22nd December 2011 on the N1 between Aberdeen, Beaufort West and Laingsburg, all public transport vehicles (later extending to private vehicles also travelling long distances) have been stopped between the hours of 20:00 – 06:00 every evening. To date, 46 023 vehicles have been stopped, with 3 203 of them parked due to the driver being fatigued.
The following areas were identified as potential “hot spots” with regards to speeding:
1. N1 (Paarl – Brackenfell)
2. R27 (West Coast)
4. R60 (Robertson – Worcester)
5. N1 (Worcester – Touwsriver))
6. N7 (Moorreesburg)
7. N2 (Knysna)
8. N2 (Caledon)
9. N2 (Mossel bay – Albertinia)
Enforcement efforts will be targeted at these areas, with our successful Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD) camera enforcement network already covering 351.1 kms of the province’s most dangerous roads; R61 from Beaufort West to Aberdeen, N1 from Beaufort West to Three Sisters, R27 West Coast, and the N1 from Beaufort West to Laingsburg, with future planned expansions along parts of the N2.
Chief Magistrate of the Western Cape approves traffic fine increases
In support of our efforts to improve safety and compliance on our roads, the Chief Magistrate of the Western Cape has approved, with effect from 1 August 2014, an increase in the value of fines issued for traffic offences. We welcome this move as it adds weight to the seriousness of these violations, which perpetrators may have previously shrugged off or not taken as seriously as they should have.
The offence is divided into three categories:
A. Serious offences ranging from R1500 to R5000
B. Driving offences ranging from R1500 to R3000
C. Not so serious offences ranging from R500 to R1500
Some noteworthy increases are:
• Falling to stop on demand of a traffic officer R500 to R1500
• No driving license R500 to R1500, HEAVY R2500
• No PrDP R2500, and with passengers R3000
• Unroadworthy vehicles R1000 to R3000
• No roadworthy bus or minibus R1000 to R3000,00
• Contrary to discontinue notices R3500
• Operator safety issues R3000
• Inconsiderate driving R1000 to R2500
• Scholar stop R500 to R3000
• Level crossing R500 to R3000
• Normal stop R 500 to R1500, with PrDP R3000
• Bus and minibus stop R500 to R1500
• Disregarding bus/minibus lane R500 to R1500
• No overtaking line R1000 to R2500 and PrDP R3500
• Robot R1000 to R2000 and R2500 for PrDP
• Service brakes R500 to R2500 PrDP
• OVER LOAD OFFENCES was changed from kilogram categories to % categories with overload ranging between 14% and 33% and fines between R750 and R5000 (was R250 and R2500)
• Dangerous goods offences was included and averaging R1200
• Cut-off for NO AG (admission of guilt) on busses and minibuses was 150 kph reduced to 134 kph and R1500 fine
The threat of these fines will no doubt deter would be errant moto-rists from engaging in irresponsible and dangerous behaviour on our roads.
We will be adopting a “no-nonsense” enforcement approach to this period, as we do during the busy festive and Easter periods. Road users must ensure that they are safe and exercise extreme caution during this time. They must refrain from dangerous behaviour like; drinking and driving; speeding, especially in wet and slippery road surfaces with decreased visibility; driving long distances without taking the necessary rest periods; and not being visible while walking on roads. Let us all continue to work together to ensure that we get Safely Home.
Drivers and other road users are encouraged to call the Emergency Traffic Control Centre (021) 812 4581 to report bad driving, or report the incident on our Safely Home Reporter at http://www.safelyhome.westerncape.gov.za/reporter
Photo: Chief Africa and Minister Grant