It’s all-hands-on-deck as law enforcement gears up for busy Easter period
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
The Western Cape Government and the Department of Transport and Public Works take the safety of all the residents of and visitors to this province very seriously. This is why, as we approach this year’s busy Easter period, we have tailor-made our interventions to respond effectively to the expected increases in traffic volumes and vehicle activities that have become synonymous with this period.
This influx places additional pressure on all law enforcement agencies that monitor and control traffic to ensure the effective and safe flow of traffic.
Increased traffic volumes are known to, in turn, result in the increased risk of crashes and serious injury on our roads.
We aim to intensify our law enforcement mission by conducting integrated traffic and road safety initiatives over the Easter period in order collectively to achieve our vision: “No-one should be killed or injured on our roads”.
Our plans have been specifically formulated to respond to the extraordinary challenges that the Easter period brings with it. This is a holiday period which includes long weekends, school holidays, as well as a host of internationally renowned events that are taking place at this time. We hope that the current plan will not only address the dangers caused by reckless and irresponsible road use, but also go a long way to ensuring that injury or unnecessary deaths on our roads are avoided.
Easter Fatality Statistics
The last four Easter periods (from 2014) have seen high fatalities over the Easter weekend. Fatalities over these periods have been:
|17 April -21 April 2014||
2 April – 6 April 2015
|24 March – 28 March 2016||
13 April – 17 April 2017
|Class of Fatality|
Pedestrians have continued to be the leading class of fatality when it comes to Easter weekends over the past few years, decreasing significantly this past Easter from 15 deaths to 5. Over the same period, passenger deaths have increased from 6 in 2016, to 14 deaths last year.
Integrated operations have therefore become critical action in the planning process to deal effectively with high traffic volumes, with special focus on holidaymakers and public transport operations.
Focused tactical operational deployment during this period is necessary to ensure increased overall safety, as well as the reduction of road deaths in all classes of fatalities. In order for all our efforts to be successful, the road users of the Western Cape must rethink the role that they play in making our roads safer, and rely less on law enforcement officers to uphold the law without their playing a proactive part in changing their errant behaviour that is often the cause of the fatal crashes we see on our roads.
With the Easter holiday season upon us, I call on all road users to be conscious of the rules of the road, and make safety everybody’s responsibility. We are seeing too many crashes caused by driver fatigue and mechanical malfunction. It is your responsibility as a driver on our roads to ensure that both you and your vehicle are ready for the journey ahead.
Even though we experienced high fatalities over the past Easter seasons in our province, we have gathered critical data about the possible causes of these fatal crashes. Speeding, drinking and driving (and walking), as well as passengers not wearing seatbelts continue to be the leading contributory factors in road deaths.
Law enforcement officers have already begun to intensify their pre-Easter operational plans in February by focusing on:
- Safety belts (rear passengers).
- Driver and vehicle fitness of all types of motor vehicles.
- Overloading control (public transport vehicles).
- Utilisation of mobile testing units (vehicle fitness).
- Manual speed law enforcement at known hazardous locations outside our Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD) sites. I would like to remind all motorists of the consequences of exceeding the general speed limit by 30 k/h rule. The South African Police Service has assured me that they will have ample space to accommodate arrested habitual offenders, including drivers who persist in driving under the influence.
- Arrests of suspected perpetrators of moving violations - arrests (Provincial Ghost Squad operation).
- Increased Random Breath Testing with the deployment of our Mobile Alcohol Evidentiary Unit.
We will continue our valued partnerships over this period with:
- Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC),
- Local traffic authorities,
- Neighbouring provinces (Eastern Cape and Northern Cape),
- South African Police Services (SAPS),
- Emergency Medical Services (EMS),
- South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL),
- Disaster Management,
- Forensic Pathology Services (FPS), and
- Fire and Rescue Services.
These partnerships have been key to reducing the carnage on our roads. Working together, we have been able to achieve more notable gains in our fight against road deaths.
We will be everywhere – where you least expect it, keeping a sharp eye on all activities on our roads. Our officers are not out to inconvenience anyone, but it is clear that where law enforcement officers are present, driver behaviour improves significantly. Increased visibility will form a key part of our efforts.
In closing I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the families and loved ones of all our law enforcement officers, who make the necessary sacrifices to save lives on our roads over the Easter period. They are to be commended for their tireless dedication and professionalism in executing their duties.
I should also like to urge all road users to be our road safety partners, and to take individual