The safety of road users must always come first
The Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) is doing everything in its power to create safer, #BoozeFreeRoads during the festive season and beyond. However, we cannot do it alone. We expect all road users to play their part by practising good road safety habits.
This includes not drinking and driving, buckling up all vehicle occupants on every trip, not speeding, not using a cellphone while driving, and not driving when tired. Dangerous driving behaviour, such as tailgating and unsafe overtaking, is a quick way to becoming a road crash fatality.
Later today, 23 December 2016, traffic law enforcement officers of DTPW will be conducting vehicle fitness checks between 18:00 and 02:00 at Sonstraal near the Huguenot Tunnel and at the Joostenberg Vlakte weighbridge. These roadside checks focus mainly on long-distance buses and minibus taxis because of the large numbers of people they convey.
These checks form part of DTPW’s public transport compliance and fatigue management sticker project, which runs at least twice a year (during Easter and the December-January holiday season). Drivers of vehicles that have been tested and found to be in good order will be given a sticker to display on their windscreens to verify their vehicle’s fitness at the time the check was performed. This will facilitate the work of traffic officers doing routine vehicle checks en route.
We urge public transport operators to ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy and that have the necessary documentation to transport paying passengers. While there is often a negative impact on commuters when traffic officers suspend or impound vehicles, safety must always come first. We ask drivers to be patient and to overtake only when it is safe to do so.
The Christmas long weekend is approaching and many road users are in a hurry to wrap up their last-minute shopping. Although this is a time filled with happiness and celebration, increased traffic volumes mean the holiday season can also be a time of danger for road users. We urge drivers to be extra careful. Always obey the rules of the road – they are there for good reason. If you’re going to a party, make sure you don’t drink and drive or walk on roads. There are safer ways to get home.
Look out for pedestrians
Pedestrian deaths account for over half of Western Cape road traffic fatalities. Pedestrians must be extra vigilant and ensure that they are highly visible to motorists at all times. They must steer clear of pedestrian no-go areas, namely highways, where it is not only dangerous for pedestrians to walk, but also illegal. Pedestrians should not walk near traffic after consuming alcohol because their judgement is impaired. As a driver, you can help keep pedestrians safe by never speeding, and by making a deliberate point of slowing down whenever you notice them near a road.
Driver fatigue can be fatal
Driving while fatigued could kill you, your passengers and others. Plan your route in advance to include stops at particular places along the way. That way you will have regular breaks from driving. On long trips, take a 10-minute break outside the vehicle every two hours. Whether you take a nap, have some coffee, or just stretch your legs, you will reduce the risk of a crash.
Road safety is a shared responsibility
All road users carry a responsibility for road safety, and good driving and pedestrian habits are essential. We can help to prevent the unnecessary loss of lives on our roads if we all work together and show consideration and respect for fellow road users.
DTPW’s commitment is to help road users travel safely to their destinations during the busy period in December and January.