The Western Cape government has warned motorists that this festive season will see a rise in roadblocks. The plan is to heighten awareness around the impact of driving under the influence as well as bad driving behaviour.
On December 5, Minister of Transport and Public Works Spokesperson, Donald Grant launched the #BoozeFreeRoads campaign. This is one of the many initiatives that the City is launching during the holiday season.
We take a look at the campaign, the government’s plans and the consequences of driving under the influence.
Festive Season Stats
During the press conference, Grant assured citizens that the city aims to decrease road fatalities in the upcoming years.
“In the future, we aim to see a drastic reduction in the number of people either injured or killed on our roads. In order to achieve this, we will be conducting integrated traffic and road safety initiatives that respond directly to the dire situation we so often find on our roads. Our most urgent task is to do all we can to lessen the carnage that is caused each year by reckless and irresponsible behaviour on our roads. “
Between 1 December 2016 and 31 January 2017 , a total of 248 deaths have been recorded. Although this number has decreased, the government aim to better it.
The period between January to November 2017, has seen a total of 1 230 lives lost on Western Cape roads. Many of these incidents were as a result of reckless or drunk driving. While 372 pedestrians this year were killed while under the influence.
Safely Home Initiative
The Safely Home initiative was founded in 2009 by the Western Cape government. The aim was to educate the public through various media campaigns about the consequences of bad driving behaviour.
The campaign has a themed calendar for the public to view the different themes each month.
According to Spokesperson for the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Siphesihle Dube; “We cover a whole range of road safety and at each time we use commercial tools and media tools to reach as many people as we can.”
One of the Safely Home’s videos went viral a few months ago. The #ItCanWait campaign highlighted the danger of texting while driving. The viral video received over 36 000 000 views globally.
The campaign was launched just a few days ago, to highlight the dangers of walking/driving under the influence. “Alcohol and road use simply don’t mix, which is a truth known to us all, and demonstrated by the significant role that alcohol continues to play in a majority of crashes that we see on our roads,” explains Grant.
Drinking and driving causes process impairments such as vision and reaction time. It also causes poor judgement and causes the driver to become a high-risk on the road. The alcohol will in turn, alter the driver’s behaviour.
This month’s Safely Home campaign is ‘Alcohol and Roads Don’t Mix”. The campaign targets adults, being the ones mainly drinking and walking or drinking and driving.
Drivers Have Been Warned!
Provincial traffic officials will be out on the roads 24/7 to enforce traffic regulations and administer road blocks. The Random Breath Test(RBT) was launched on July 1 this year, and aims to catch people drinking and driving.
“The RBT model is based on those used successfully around the world, in countries like Australia. Lessons for devising the RBT operational model were drawn from Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria, where a 20% reduction in alcohol related traffic injuries was achieved within two years of implementing RBT operations,” explains Grant.
Since July, over 20 000 motorists have been stopped and screened for alcohol and hundreds of these people have been arrested.
Grant has expressed his concern surrounding the fatalities due to negligent and drunk driving. The Western Cape government will be focusing on the following points this season:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol;
- Random Breath Testing (RBT);
- Excessive speed;
- Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD);
- Driver Fatigue management, carried out later in the night when most fatigue-related crashes occur;
- Driver/vehicle fitness;
- Distracted driving;
- Public transport;
- Pedestrian safety;
- Seatbelt compliance;
- Inter provincial operations;
- Licencing plates;
- Safe following distances;
- Transportation of illegal substances/elicit cigarettes.
The government highlighted that motorists must remain alert at all times. The following roads in and around Cape Town should be driven on with caution:
- The R27 West Coast;
- The N1;
*For more information on the Safely Home campaign, click here.
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