5 December 2017

South Africa: Transport Minister Talks Tough On Reckless Driving

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi says the surge in festive season fatalities in the last three years from 1 587 in 2014/15 to 2 006 in 2016/17 shows a need for the zero tolerance approach to law enforcement on the road.

"The statistics again glaringly show that we have a monumental task to improve the behaviour of road users and safety on the roads," said the Minister on Tuesday at the launch of the Department of Transport's festive season campaign in Bela-Bela township, Limpopo.

Five provinces, namely Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, accounted for 73% of all fatalities last year. This festive season, government will strive to combat this by removing unfit drivers and vehicles from the road.

"Those that do not adhere to the standards will not leave the provinces of their origin. Residential areas such as suburban, township and village roads will be policed to ensure that holidaymakers do not cause unnecessary crashes," Minister Maswanganyi said.

The department said a trends analysis of festive season road crashes shows that over the past three years, road accidents spike over the weekends. A deeper analysis shows that several crashes take place between 15H00 and mid-night, and again in the mornings between 04H00 and 07H00.

"I would like to make a clarion call for us get back to basics and direct our efforts at high risk violations occurring at certain times and places that lead to an increased number of accidents," said the Minister.

The situation is compounded on long weekends where alcohol consumption spikes, leading to reckless and negligent driving, bold disregard of road rules and an increase in road crashes, injuries and fatalities.

The Minister strongly condemned acts of criminality, such as motorists bribing officers of the law.

He used the launch to remember fallen officials, who died on duty due to the negligence of some drivers.

"I urge all motorists to treat our traffic officers with respect and dignity. Let us all bear in mind that traffic officers have chosen this career to serve and protect the nation against lawlessness."

He issued a stern warning reminding motorists and the public that an attack against law enforcement officers is an attack against the State and it shall not be tolerated.

"Those who attack them must be pursued, arrested and face the full might of the law," Minister Maswanganyi said.

He urged municipalities and provincial authorities to ensure adequate protection of traffic officers.

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