Ministers Launch Safely Home Road Safety Plan for the Festive Season
Joint Media Statement by Dan Plato, Minister of Community Safety, Robin Carlisle, Minister of Transport and Public Works, and Theuns Botha, Minster of Health
All Safely Home programmes and initiatives aimed at increasing road safety during the festive season are in place as a transversal approach between the Western Cape Departments of Community Safety, Transport and Health.
This government is committed to increasing safety in the province and is working proactively towards reducing the number of lives lost on our roads.
This festive season we will once again focus on visibility, enforcement and education on all national and provincial routes in the Western Cape. Whilst preventative measures are in place, so are all processes to ensure swift and effective reaction to incidents.
Peak dates identified are:
- 9 December.
- 15 and 16 December.
- 22 and 23 December.
- 26 December.
- 31 December.
- 1 and 2 January.
- 5 to 7 January.
Our Safely Home campaign sees an integrated law enforcement approach and has brought about a 23% reduction in road fatalities in two-and-a-half years. Whilst all law enforcement officers and medical personnel will be out in full force, we urge every road user to take responsibility and to act in the interest of safety.
Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato
Together with all other law enforcement agencies we are bolstering resources to increase safety and combat reckless behaviour on our roads. This past weekend alone 12 fatalities were recorded in the province and we are leaving no stone unturned to prevent incidents from happening in the first place.
Integrated approach: During this period, all our law enforcement operations will be integrated with SAPS and local traffic departments as well as other role players like SARS and Home Affairs.
Vehicles entering the Western Cape from other provinces must comply with the rules and inter-provincial operations are being conducted.
We are liaising with Emergency and Fire Services in respect of speedy response times and assistance.
The road agencies are on board to assist with possible emergency road closures and roadworks, barring major road projects like the N7 project, will be removed to ensure a free flow of traffic.
Public transport organisations and the Western Cape Taxi Council will be involved at operational sites to show transparency and engage with taxi operators and drivers.
Roadblocks: Alcohol and speed are the biggest contributing factors to fatalities on our roads and we will continue to act to rid our roads of drunk drivers and speedsters.
Our integrated weekend alcohol operations will continue during this period and motorists can be assured that in this province they will be stopped and tested for driving under the influence.
We will be holding more than double the usual number of roadblocks over the two-month period. A total of 325 roadblocks will see 320 000 vehicles being pulled over.
We will also clamp down on those attempting to transport illegal substances into or out of the province.
Fatigue management/public transport vehicles: Fatigue management operations are planned on the N1 and N2 as well as at the various weighbridges to promote commuter safety and fight driver fatigue. I urge all drivers to take special care when planning to travel long distances.
We will have a strong focus on public transport vehicles and our weighbridges and impoundment facilities are ready for action to be taken against illegal operators.
In order to identify and monitor the movement of public transport vehicles on the N1 and the N2, we will again implement the colour-coded sticker project at weighbridges and long-distance taxi ranks.
Unmarked traffic patrol vehicles will be deployed to focus on moving violations and those found guilty will be prosecuted.
Average speed over distance: In collaboration with my colleague Minister Carlisle's department, the average speed over distance monitor system was installed between Beaufort West and Aberdeen to address the high fatality rate. Six people have already been arrested on this road for excessive speed since implementation about a month ago.
Number plate recognition: We are deploying vehicles equipped with the Number Plate Recognition system to assist law enforcement officials with the identification of those with warrants of arrest against them and stolen vehicles operating on our roads.
Law enforcement personnel: All traffic law enforcement officials will be on and absenteeism will be kept to the absolute minimal.
Provincial Traffic Services of the Western Cape were the first to implement a 24/7 deployment strategy of traffic personnel. We were also the first to conduct integrated weekend alcohol blitz roadblocks. Both best practices were adopted by the Road Traffic Management Corporation and will soon be implemented in all other provinces.
Hotline: Road users are urged to report traffic violations to the provincial traffic hotline 021 812 4581/2. The hotline is operational and manned 24 hours per day.
We are ready, but the responsible actions of each and every road user are needed to ultimately achieve our main aim which is the prevention of road incidents from happening in the first place.
Minister of Transport and Public Works, Robin Carlisle
The festive season remains a time when road carnage peaks. From 1 December to 31 January last year, 272 people were killed on the province's roads. This is unacceptable. This year, we once again call on all road users, whether motorist, passenger or pedestrian, to join the growing majority who have opted to take the choice to get Safely Home.
Safely Home activities to get our message across this festive season:
- Safely Home's Road Safety Advertising Campaign.
- Our Average Speed over Distance (ASOD) pilot in Beaufort West is fully functional. A 24-hour war-room was established to monitor speeds of all motorists, especially long-distance public transport operators.
- Our partnership with the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) "Hlokomela" ("We care" in Sotho) project, whose goal it is to "change the face of the taxi industry", will be intensified. Industry leaders will be assisting our officials at ranks and road blocks to identify unroadworthy vehicles and address drivers on safety and the need for regular rests.
- Our department has engaged with the Retail Motor Industry (RMI), whose members have been providing free vehicle checks, since Monday the 28th, for those who intend hitting the roads over the festive period. Joy Oldale, RMI Director, is here today handing out information on these free checks.
- The Safely Home and our public transport safety and compliance teams will be out on the key routes to assist traffic officials at routine checks and to hand out safety awareness and fatigue avoidance leaflets.
We also want the public to be aware of the Provincial Traffic Radio Control number, 021 812 4581/2. Call immediately if you observe dangerous or reckless driving. Your call could save lives.
A special appeal goes out to passengers on buses and taxis: report your drivers if they drive recklessly. We will ensure that as far as our resources allow, every call is followed up.
The Transport and Public Works Ministry hosts a number of media events as the school holidays approach:
- Monday, 5 December: Press conference with the Department of Health and ChildSafe to raise awareness of child road safety.
- Tuesday, 6 December: We launch Crash Witness on the new Safely Home website. Crash Witness brings the public real CCTV footage of crashes on the Western Cape road network. Sensitive viewers are warned that the content is graphic.
- Tuesday, 13 December: SANTACO Chairperson Vernon Billet and I will take advantage of the National Vehicle Testing Association's (NVTA's) offer of free safety checks for our cars. The offer runs from the beginning of this week to 10 December 2011.
At the beginning of 2009, I set the target of bringing down the death toll by 50%. Since then we've brought it down more than 20%. I want to thank all those road safety partners who have helped make this possible. It is a very long list, because the vast majority of the people of the Western Cape are on it - it is YOU who have brought the death toll down. Nearly 800 people are alive today who would otherwise be dead because of the decision YOU have made to stop drinking and driving, to slow down, to buckle yourselves and your children up, and to stop using your cellphones. It is a small minority who are still doing the killing.
To the minority who have not made the change, the end of the year is a time for reflection. I urge you to think long and hard about which side you are on when it comes to road safety. Join us, please, before it is too late for you and your loved ones.
Let's all take the side of safety, starting this festive season, and make sure that each and every one of us gets Safely Home.
Minister of Health, Theuns Botha
The prevalence of illness and injury are similar through the year and the burden on EMS to respond to emergencies remains consistently high. Similar peaks occur during the summer season and, in addition to the usual weekend peaks, injury rates are expected to increase on the dates as listed above.
Road Traffic Injury EMS will on these dates provide extended resources and improved visibility on the major arterial routes out of Cape Town. All 30 EMS Medical Rescue vehicles will stand out on main routes through the province.
The N1 route will have rescue vehicle and ambulance response available in Beaufort West, Laingsburg and Leeu Gamka with paramedics and rescue technicians available. Cape Town will staff its normal complement of operational vehicles including three rescue vehicles ready to respond 24/7 to vehicle entrapments. Vehicles will be strategically placed to improve response times.
Rescue technicians on fully equipped rescue vehicles (Jaws of Life) will be strategically placed to be able to respond as swiftly as possible.
Three metropolitan ambulances in Cape Town will be fully stocked and ready to roll to incidents on the N1, N2 and N7 in order to bring patients to Cape Town if necessary from small rural hospitals. The vehicles will be crewed by advanced life support and intermediate life support staff from Cape Town.
A fourth metropolitan ambulance from Cape Town will be utilised during the Laingsburg project part of the plan. This project involves deploying an ALS and Rescue Technician qualified personnel from Cape Town with their own vehicle on a 24/7 basis in Laingsburg.
Two other mass-casualty resources will respond from Cape Town:
- First: MIMMS medical response teams of emergency medicine specialists to support medical staff at scenes or rural hospitals.
- Second: Mobile mass-casualty unit and mass-casualty vehicles from the Metro rescue base in Cape Town.
The MIMMS teams will be flown to districts by the Red Cross Air Mercy Service if necessary.
An added initiative is to involve local and long-distance taxi or other transport operators in the event of one of their members being involved in an accident during this period. This initiative involves making contact with the parent organisation to facilitate the further transport of stranded passengers either to their original destination or repatriate them home.
Near Drowning Incidents, METRO EMS will provide medical support to beaches at Hermanus, Camps Bay, Gordons Bay, Monwabisi, Strandfontein and Muizenberg by supporting NSRI Stations 17, 2, 9, 16 and 10 respectively with Intermediate Life Support Emergency Care Officers on the dates that large numbers are expected at beaches.
Interpersonal violence and injury: On the dates where alcohol consumption and large-scale partying are expected EMS will place ambulances within striking distance of hotspots to facilitate rapid response. Strategic areas eg Victoria and Alfred Waterfront will have satellite operational points with incident commanders for the area as well as mass-casualty trailers and ambulances.
Weather forecasting will also determine standby platforms from outdoor to indoor venues in Cape Town. Intelligence will determine where the largest parties are being held and communications will strategically place resources in these vicinities. Utilising overtime and volunteers, crew mandates will be increased to 60 for the night shift of 31 December 2011.
Wilderness Search and Rescue: Wilderness Search and Rescue is on standby for: - Mountain Rescues - Searches for missing persons - Coastline-related incidents.
Transversal Medical Support Services Red Cross Air Mercy Service: The Red Cross Air Mercy Service is contracted to EMS for the provision of Aero Medical Operations. These are provided by helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
Rotor Wing Services: Helicopter services are based in Cape Town and Oudtshoorn and provide a primary response to serious incidents and the transport of patients from rural hospitals to hospitals in George and Cape Town.
Fixed Wing Service: These services are utilised to fetch patients from distant rural areas (Central Karoo and West Coast) and transport them to definitive care in Cape Town. Call out mechanisms for these services are well established through the 10177 Emergency Number. The private ambulance service ER 24 will also transport medical personnel to an incident as well as transporting a patient to definitive care.