Minister Mitchell visits Garden Route District

Yesterday, I visited the Garden Route District where I engaged the Mayors on issues related to my Department that are affecting the different municipalities.

During my visit, I used the opportunity to visit the George Provincial Traffic Centre to personally thank the Provincial Traffic Officers who are working hard to ensure that Western Cape residents who are making use of our roads are safe and arrive safely in their various destinations.

The province’s Provincial Traffic Services implemented a total of 172 integrated roadblocks, vehicle check point and speed control operations across the province last week and stopped and checked 19 228 vehicles.

The Directorate: Traffic Law Enforcement and the South African Police Service have drawn up a joint plan to deal with possible incidents of public and taxi-related violence that could have an impact on daily life, the safety of motorists and commuters, traffic flows, and the ability of motorists to access transport routes.

The plan seeks to heighten law enforcement visibility, monitor all major and national routes for potential threats and risks, and enable a rapid response to any incidents. The primary focus of Provincial Traffic Law Enforcement remains promoting good driver behaviour, clamping down on road traffic offences, and helping to ensure public compliance with the Disaster Management Act.

A total of 203 speeding offences were recorded and 3 275 fines were issued for various traffic violations ranging from driver to vehicle fitness in the total amount of R3 007 200 in the week under review.
Forty vehicles were impounded and 53 were discontinued for unroadworthiness. The highest speeds recorded was 160 km/h in a 120 km/h zone.

Four charges were laid under the Disaster Management Act and fines to the total value of R8 500 were issued. 43 arrests were made for various offences under the National Road Traffic Act, Criminal Procedure Act, and Disaster Management Act regulations. These include the arrest of 19 people for driving under the influence of alcohol.

A total of 16 crashes occurred in the reporting period, and 17 fatalities were recorded. They include 2 drivers, 4 passengers and 11 pedestrians.

I urge drivers not to drink and drive. If you have been drinking, make other arrangements to get home. If you are stopped by a traffic law enforcement officer and the officer suspects that you are over the legal limit, you will be arrested. If you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, you will have a criminal record.

Make sure that you can see other road users and that they can see you in the rain, mist and fog of winter. Keep a safe following distance when visibility is poor, especially when the road is wet. Take careful note of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

If you drive a public transport vehicle, be extra careful throughout your journey. Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy and that your operating licence is in order. Ensure that you and all occupants are wearing a mask over their noses and mouths, and are sanitising regularly. Stay off the road during the curfew hours between 22:00 and 04:00.

Observe passenger limits – 100% of licensed carrying capacity for journeys shorter than 200 km, and 70% of carrying capacity for journeys of more than 200 km. Make sure the windows are always at least 5 cm open on both sides of your vehicle.

If you drive a long-distance heavy motor vehicle, make it a regular habit to stop and rest. It is also important to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the long road ahead by resting before trips, practising safe health protocols, eating well, hydrating yourself throughout the journey with water, and remaining vigilant about the risk of criminal activity.

It won’t kill you to slow down. Think carefully about how fast you are driving. Also make sure that you wear your seatbelt, that your passengers are wearing theirs, and that small children are strapped in in an age-appropriate harness.

#ItWontKillYouToSlowDown. For more information, see Safely Home on Facebook and on Twitter @WCGovSafelyHome.

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