Home News Road deaths highlight shortage of traffic cops in N Cape

Road deaths highlight shortage of traffic cops in N Cape

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The behaviour of some road users, whose disregard for the rules of the road put the lives of all other road users at risk, was the department’s “major concern”

STATS: The MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison Lebogang Motlhaping, released the Provincial 2018 Preliminary Festive Season Road Safety Statistics yesterday. Picture: Danie van der Lith

The Northern Cape, which recorded 42 motor vehicle crashes that resulted in 54 fatalities over the 2018/19 festive season, is facing a massive shortage of provincial traffic officers.

This is according to the MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Lebogang Motlhaping, who released the Provincial 2018 Preliminary Festive Season Road Safety Statistics in Kimberley yesterday.

The Preliminary Festive Season Road Safety Operations Report covers the period from December 1 2018 to January 7 2019 and unpacks the conduct of road users during the period.

Motlhaping said that while the festive season is characterised by high traffic volumes, as people criss-cross the country to make their way to various vacation destinations, to visit family and spend time with loved ones, the period also “marks an unpopular characteristic of devastating road crashes and accidents that rob communities of loved ones, leaving many traumatised and with little to celebrate”.

The MEC urged road users to be mindful of their conduct.

“It is crucial that we recognise that each and every action we take on the road can severely impact on someone else’s life. Road accidents not only cripple the economy of the country but severely impact on the quality of life of many households, as some that are injured or perish on the roads are breadwinners. So, the loss therefore becomes a loss of not only a parent, child or sibling but also a loss of income, leaving some families in a dire situation.”

Motlhaping said that the behaviour of some road users, whose disregard for the rules of the road put the lives of all other road users at risk, was the department’s “major concern”.

“It is a well-known fact that the Northern Cape remains confronted with a limited number of provincial traffic officers and resources while having to police the biggest province in South Africa,” Motlhaping said.

It transpired that there were only about 100 provincial traffic officers in the Province, while a total of about 300 officials were needed. Motlhaping explained that the department faced a big challenge in this regard, with numerous provincial traffic officials having tendered their resignations recently, further aggravating the situation.

Reflecting on the festive season operations, Motlhaping stated that traffic officials stopped and checked 23 674 vehicles and issued 2 048 summonses.

“Analysing the data, speeding constituted more than 40% of summonses issued, at a total of 861 summonses, while the highest speed recorded was 173km/* near Richmond on the N1 in a 120km/* zone. Ninety summonses were issued for moving violations such as using a cellphone while driving and overtaking over barrier lines. A total of 415 summonses were issued for failure to produce driving licences and no licences, while 206 summonses were issued for unlicensed vehicles,” Motlhaping said, adding that these statistics were an indication that the attitudes of road users remained the “biggest challenge”.

“These are decisions that individuals make on the roads that put their lives and the lives of other road users at risk. Fatigue, pedestrian negligence and overloading are some of the further concerns that we have noted while analysing our operations. This also requires a shift in mindset, such a planning trips and scheduling rest stops every 200km or every two hours on any journey.”

The Northern Cape is amongst the provinces that showed an increase in the number of recorded fatalities.

“The Province recorded 42 crashes that resulted in 54 fatalities (with 1 612 recorded countrywide during the period). In 2017, the Province recorded 30 fatalities.”

The Province also recorded two major crashes where five people died in each crash, resulting in 10 fatalities.

The areas that recorded the most fatalities are Springbok with 14 fatalities, Upington with 12 and Mothibistad where eight fatalities were recorded.

“The recorded increase in fatalities is undesirable despite the Province continuing to record the lowest number of fatalities across the nine Provinces.”

Motlhaping stated further that a total of 4 975 drivers were screened for driving under the influence of alcohol, which resulted in seven arrests, depicting a decrease of five arrests in comparison to the 12 arrests recorded in 2017.

“Although speed summonses contributed almost 40% of the summonses issued during the period, 861 speed summonses were recorded for 2018 showing a decline of 466 summonses in comparison to the 1 327 speed summonses issued in 2017. Five arrests were recorded for excessive speeding during this period in comparison to eight arrests in 2017.

“The number of summonses issued for various offences also depicted a decline from 3 407 in 2017 to 2 048 during the period under review.”

Motlhaping applauded the taxi industry for its continued support and initiatives in curbing road fatalities, “as yet again we have recorded no fatal crashes involving licensed taxis”.