Easter 2013 Road Safety Plan Launched
Integrated Management and Enforcement
Easter and the December Festive season are two of the most critical periods for Road Traffic Management Authorities in the province. Easter, more-so, because it covers a concentrated four-day period with many motorists travelling the length and breadth of the province for religious, holiday, touring and returning home purposes. Many transport operators convey freight and passengers on our road network during this period which results in a massive increase of different modes of transport travelling along the major arterial and secondary routes in the Western Cape en route to different destinations.
The heightened focal period will commence during Easter from 27 March until 6 May 2013.
Joint Operations with the South African Police Services (SAPS)
Local and Provincial Traffic Departments, the National Traffic Police Unit, Municipal police as well as the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies will all be involved in this weekend’s operations. By working together we can have the biggest impact in making our roads safer.
We will be conducting various joint operations with SAPS across the Province targeted mainly at public transport, focusing on issues such as:
- Driver fitness
- Vehicle fitness
Traffic Law Enforcement agencies will also have operations aimed at preventing the illegal transportation of illegal substances, driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and fatigue management.
Our traffic officials have a zero tolerance approach towards alcohol abuse by both drivers and pedestrians.
First Campaign with the National Traffic Police Unit
We are very pleased to announce that members of the National Traffic Police Unit (NTPU) will be assisting the Provincial Traffic services over the Easter Weekend.
Whilst we have always expressed our objection to the NTPU operating as an independent entity in our province, we very much welcome them working with our officers to enforce our Provincial Easter Road Safety Plan.
The NTPU will be fully briefed on the plan and allocated roles within it. They will supply manpower and vehicles as well as a helicopter.
In addition to adding to our scarce resources, working together will allow for an important transfer of information between the units, and enable the Province to introduce the NTPU to some of the technology – such as Average Speed Over Distance – which has had such success on Provincial Roads.
Pooling our joint efforts is an excellent example of co-operative government in action. As the leading Province in terms of reducing fatalities on our roads, we hope that the NTPU will take lessons learned here to both the National Department of Transport as well as the other provinces.
Since 2009, we have seen high fatalities over the Easter weekend due to the ever-increasing number of vehicles, bound for various destinations, on our roads during this time. Over the past four Easter weekends, the fatalities have been:
- 2009: 21
- 2010: 28
- 2011: 7
- 2012: 20
What is very clear of this period, as is the case for most periods throughout the year, is the high proportion of pedestrian and drivers/passengers death, heightened during Easter and the Festive Season.
The fatality rate on roads in the Province has been reduced from 1 739 for the year ended December 2008, to 1 262 for the year ended December 2012 through our Safely Home Campaign.
Although the annualised (12 month) figure till February 2013 was 1 202, a reduction of 30%, the month of March has not been a great one, with the recent Hex River bus crash that so tragically claimed the lives of 24 people on 15 March 2013. The crash has once again brought public transport into the spotlight, and our efforts to ensure safety in this regard remain as committed as ever. Investigations into the causes of the crash are still ongoing.
Our successful Fatigue Management campaign (which has seen a marked drop in the amount of fatal public transport crashes) will continue on all of our major routes to combat the serious threats to safety posed by fatigued drivers.
Long-distance public transport is required to have at least two drivers available for these long trips. We are very happy that our road safety partners in the mini-bus taxi industry travelling on the long-distance routes have realised the serious threat to passenger safety posed by a fatigued driver and are also ensuring that not one driver is behind the wheel for long periods of time on this cross-province trips.
Weighbridges, across the Province, will be utilised to inspect heavy vehicles to ensure compliance, and our impoundment facilities will be on hand to impound vehicles that are deemed unfit for travel.
Our Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD) camera enforcement technology which has, since last Easter, been extended from the R61 (Beaufort West to Aberdeen) to the N1 (Three sisters to Beaufort West).
This effectively means that a total of 103.3 kms of the Province’s most dangerous roads are now covered by the ASOD system, which has seen close to a 50% reduction in speeding offences recorded since the initial implementation of the system, as well as a sharp decline in the number of fatal crashes on these stretches of road.
Future expansion of the ASOD system will be an extension of the Three sisters-Beaufort West Stretch further till Worcester, and also the R27 (Melboschstrand to Saldanha).
Restraints enforcement, particularly back seat passenger restraints, will also be a main focus over this Easter Weekend, and we call on both passengers and drivers to ensure that they are buckled-up before any journey, and also to be vocal in reporting reckless and irresponsible driving to the authorities on 021 812 4581/2, our Provincial Traffic Radio Control Centre.
Extended EMS Services
Theuns Botha, Minister of Health:
Our Emergency Medical Services unit is prepared and on standby for the Easter weekend as injury rates are expected to increase.
EMS will provide extended resources on the major arterial routes out of Cape Town including the N1, N2, N7, R62, R61 and R27. All thirty EMS Medical Rescue vehicles will be on standby and visible on main routes to raise awareness to the driving public to the dangers ahead.
On the N1 there will be rescue vehicles and ambulance response available in Beaufort West and Leeu-Gamka with paramedics and rescue technicians available.
A 23-seater bus will be in Beaufort West to transport uninjured victims. Cape Town will staff its normal complement of operational vehicles including three rescue vehicles ready to respond to vehicle entrapments 24/7.
In order to ensure an adequate personnel complement, the granting of annual leave has been planned and the use of volunteers have been increased.
Major medical incidents will be managed through the Major Incident Medical Management System (MIMMS) and mass casualty resources will be mobilised to incidents from surrounding districts and Cape Town.
Three 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 from small rural hospitals to Cape Town.
Two other mass casualty resources will respond from Cape Town - the major incident medical response teams and the mobile mass casualty unit from the Metro rescue base in Cape Town. They 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 crash during this period. EMS will contact the parent organisation to facilitate the further transport of stranded passengers either to their original destination or repatriate them home.
We continue to urge all motorists, particularly during this Easter Weekend, to:
- Not speed.
- Not drink and drive.
- Be extra mindful of pedestrians (who make up half of all the fatalities in the province).
- Not use cellphones while driving.
- Ensure that they buckle up, and most importantly that children in the vehicle are buckled up.
Motorists are also urged to be extra vigilant during 18:00 and 21:00 in the evening when most crashes are recorded on our roads. In doing so, we can ensure that after our various travels, we all get Safely Home.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Transport and Public Works
Cell: 084 233 3811
Spokesperson for Minister of the Community Safety
Cell: 072 623 4499
Spokesperson for the Minister of Health
Cell: 082 771 8834