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Over 1 200 drivers tested for alcohol

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“Our weekends remain high accident risk periods, with accidents occurring mostly between 10pm and 4am from Friday till Monday.”

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WHILE drinking and driving was cited among the major contributing factors to rising death tolls on Northern Cape roads, more than
1 200 scans for alcohol over the Easter period resulted in only one arrest.

These were some of the findings by the provincial Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, which presented the Northern Cape’s Easter traffic report yesterday morning.

During yesterday’s press conference, Transport MEC Lebogang Motlhaping said that between March 29 and April 9 this year, a total of 27 lives were lost on Northern Cape roads, nearly three times the number of fatalities over the Easter period in 2017.

Fatalities included 13 drivers, 11 passengers and three pedestrians over a period when a total of 131 traffic officials and road safety officers had been deployed.

According to the MEC, nearly 6 000 vehicles were stopped and checked. Two cars were impounded and 575 notices were issued. A total of 1 209 drivers were scanned for alcohol.

More than 200 drivers were fined for speeding, including one road user who was recorded travelling at 162km/* in a 120km/* zone on the R27 near Calvinia.

Throughout these operations, only three arrests were made – with one person caught for speeding, another for using a falsified ID and one person for drunken driving.

This, despite the MEC emphasising that law enforcement had targeted areas where the use of alcohol was of concern and had adopted a zero-tolerance approach to transgressions.

“When we look at the main contributing factors for crashes, we find that it remains human behaviour, which means that these accidents are mostly preventable,” said the MEC.

“Other factors include driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, moving violations, dangerous overtaking, vehicle fitness, fatigue and overloading.

“Our weekends remain high accident risk periods, with accidents occurring mostly between 10pm and 4am from Friday till Monday.”

Motlhaping said that intelligence-driven and visible law enforcement operations were conducted on all major and arterial routes, focusing on speeding, drunken driving and operations targeting areas and events where alcohol is consumed, such as music festivals.

“The period demands specialised operations that draw strength from collaborative efforts by our criminal justice stakeholders and partners, which included the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Environment and Nature Conservation, the South African Revenue Service and the Road Accident Fund (RAF),” he explained

“Each partner brought with them their specialised focus, knowledge and capabilities, with the overall objective to reduce and contain crashes, fatalities and injuries.

“Some of our programmes included activations on pedestrian safety, driver safety, passenger education, safer vehicles and alcohol awareness.”