Safely Home Easter Campaign Worked and Saved Lives
Joint Media Statement by Minister Albert Fritz, Minister Robin Carlisle and Minister Theuns Botha
Safely Home's Easter Campaign worked and saved lives. This Easter weekend saw a record low for fatalities on roads across the Province, with seven deaths recorded, as opposed to 28 for the previous year and 21 the year before that. This is, however, still seven too many, and we have our work cut out for next year to eradicate this completely.
Minister Albert Fritz (Community Safety)
Law enforcement officers across this Province worked tirelessly over the extended Easter weekend to ensure the safety of all road users. The focus included fatigue management, driver behaviour, commuter safety, vehicle fitness, alcohol screening, speed enforcement, overload control and driver/vehicle documentation.
It is worth mentioning that none of the public transport vehicles stopped, checked and marked with the colour-coded stickers issued by officials were involved in fatal accidents over the Easter weekend. Commuters must also be applauded for their patience and understanding during the inspection periods at the different vehicle stop and check points, as the process was time consuming.
Safely Home operations involved roughly 350 officers, spending a total of 8 262 human hours (21 - 25 April 2011) working to increase safety on our roads. A further 6 663 human hours were spent on operations during the additional public holidays up to and including 2 May 2011. Students from the Gene Louw Traffic College were also deployed at various check points across the Province, to assist with operations and to minimise the inconvenience to drivers and passengers.
Minister Robin Carlisle (Transport and Public Works)
There is no doubt that the different aspects of Safely Home, from the naming and shaming of convicted drunk drivers to impounding unlicensed public transport vehicles, are closing the space for reckless motorists, drunk drivers and unsafe vehicles to hide on our roads.
We are, however, still losing too many lives on our roads mainly because of avoidable road crashes caused by some reckless motorists. We can save more lives if all road users can do basic things such as not speeding, not driving drunk, not using cellphones while driving and wearing seatbelts at all times. All these simple things can make a huge difference in making our roads safer and enabling our colleagues in the Department of Health to focus on providing primary health care to patients in need of medical services rather than spending lots of time and resources attending to road-related incidents.
We are deeply grateful to the traffic officers from Province, City Traffic Services and the Metro Police who man our roads day and night and whose efforts have been the core of our success over Easter; to our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) crew who go beyond the call of duty to be on the scenes of accidents in the nick of time to provide medical assistance to those injured; to all motorists who drive safely and obey the rules of the road at all times; to the members of the public who contact our law enforcement agencies to report reckless driving; to the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) for their initiative to promote road safety in their ranks, and everybody who does their bit in their respective capacities for making our roads safe.
Minister Theuns Botha (Health)
"The decrease in incidents and fatal injuries is testimony to the integration of the Safely Home campaign with the provincial government's ongoing work to combat the misuse of alcohol. This will have a definite impact on the burden of disease and the treatment of patients in emergency units at our hospitals."
Each motorist stopped at our many roadblocks received a pamphlet explaining how "fewer car crashes mean we can spend less money on ambulances, casualty and ICU wards, doctors, nurses, traffic officers and forensic pathologists". It went on to explain that, "we will use the money we save to make this Province safer".
In terms of the triage system, mostly green and orange patients were treated at the hospitals' emergency units, which means patients presented with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
All hospitals kept the same plans in place for the Workers' Day long weekend, as for the Easter weekend, which included keeping emergency vehicles and staff on standby in strategic locations near the N1 and N2.
Safely Home is fast becoming a household name and there is a marked improvement in driver behaviour. From the outset we have said that this campaign is geared at positively influencing driver behaviour and we have largely succeeded. There is still much to be done though, and as a government we will continue on our quest to save lives and get everyone Safely Home.
For Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
Tel: 021 483 3873
Cell: 078 887 7004
Fax: 086 602 9861
For Western Cape Minister of Health
Tel: 021 483 4426
Cell: 082 771 8834
Fax: 021 483 4143
For Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works
Tel: 021 483 8954
Cell: 083 641 9691