Western Cape Government Interventions Continue to Curb the Carnage on Roads
25 February 2014
Joint Statement by Minister Robin Carlisle, Minister Dan Plato, and Provincial Traffic Chief Kenny Africa
The December 2013 - January 2014 festive season has been one of commendable hard work by our Province and Municipal Traffic Services, Safely Home, and all our road safety partners. As with all our joint road safety efforts, our interventions have continued to be guided by information-based strategy, that continues to yield positive results and save thousands of lives, that would otherwise have been lost on our roads. Valuable lessons from festive seasons past continue to place us in good stead in our continued efforts at reducing the unacceptably high fatalities experienced on a daily basis.
Our approach remains focussed, dedicated and informed, using all available information and emergent trends to guide the decisions we take. Together with the citizens of the Western Cape that continue to prioritise their safety on our roads as well as that of others, we have cut the provincial death rate down by 30.1% since the beginning of 2009. We celebrate this achievement today, and reaffirm our commitment make our roads safer for all that travel on them.
The festive season is measured from 1 December 2013 to 31 January 2014.
Comparative Festive Season Breakdown:
December 2010 - January 2011: 263
December 2011 - January 2012: 247
December 2012 - January 2013: 230
December 2013 - January 2014: 221
Following the November launch of Safely Home’s multimedia seatbelt campaign, “It Takes A Second To Save A Life”, as well as the launch of Provincial Traffic’s complementary enforcement plan and other interventions, we began to see some positive emergent trends on our roads, particularly with the number of passenger deaths decreasing compared to previous years at that time.
Prior to the campaign, passenger and driver deaths (vehicle occupants) had overtaken pedestrians as the leading class of fatalities amongst road users; this was a clear indication that seatbelt compliance levels were unacceptably low, often resulting in vehicle collisions being fatal crashes.
We are pleased that the campaign was so aptly supported by enforcement practices that saw more and more seatbelt non-compliers being issued with fines and warned against their dangerous behaviour of not buckling-up.
What is clear is that we have managed to steadily bring the death rate down in all leading classes of fatalities since we began our efforts years ago, with motorcyclist deaths being the only class to show a marked increase this past festive season.
This festive season saw key partnerships playing a decisive role in our efforts to make our roads safer; 30 Traffic students were deployed during this period to assist with planned operational activities, while 12 National Traffic Police Unit officers (From the RTMC) were deployed on the N1 to increase visibility and also to assist with operational activities in the Beaufort West area. Our collective efforts during this past festive season included:
- Provincial, Metro, and municipal traffic services continued their efforts to clamp down on seatbelt violations, with a total of 4673 seatbelt related fines issued, making it an integral part of our enforcement efforts, alongside drunk driving and speed.
- Fatigue Management efforts (which began in December 2011) targeting long distance mini-bus taxis, public transport, as well as private vehicles were also carried out over the festive season:
-4796 vehicles were stopped to screen drivers for fatigue.
-95 of them were parked and made to rest.
- Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD) camera enforcement network’s fourth phase (N1 between Beaufort West and Laingsburg) was launched. Our ASOD system now covers a total of 351.1kms of the province’s most dangerous roads (N1, R61 and R27), with further expansions of the system already in the pipeline. The ASOD system has seen more and more drivers slowing down and maintaining safe speeds on these dangerous roads. We have also seen a noticeable decrease in the number of deaths recorded on these roads following implementation; down from an average 20 deaths per year, to an average 1 death per year on stretches covered by the previous three phases of the system. The highest average speed recorded on the system thus far has been 192 km/h along the N1 between Three sisters and Beaufort West.
- We launched a massive multi-media campaign targeted at seatbelt compliance, “It Takes A Second To Save A Life”. The campaign was a R5 million road safety campaign that focussed on radio and outdoor advertising, with 16 billboards across the metro all carrying the message, “Buckle Up! It Only Takes A Second To Save A Life”. The results of this campaign are evidenced in the decrease in passenger deaths over the festive season, and we are confident that as awareness rises, so too will compliance, resulting in less and less deaths resulting from serious crashes.
More Enforcement During the Festive Season Road Safety Campaign:
- The total number of prosecutions for speed offences over this festive season was 32 538. The highest speed recorded was 199km/h in a 120km/h zone in Beaufort West.
- A total of 78 106 vehicles were stopped at roadblocks.
- 33 112 drivers were screened for alcohol and 322 were arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. The highest reading was 1.84mg/1000ml which is 7 times over the legal limit of 0.24mg/1000ml.
- 59 238 vehicles were screened for overloading.
- A total 418 arrests were effected for the various offences, ranging from alcohol to excessive speeding and reckless or negligent driving.
- Inter-provincial operations with our counterparts in the Eastern and Northern Cape, and Free State, together with SAPS, were also conducted over this past festive season.
Western Cape Fatality Statistics
Year-on-year, we continue to see the deaths on the Province’s roads decrease and are confident that through our continued efforts, this trend will no doubt continue with less and less lives being lost so senselessly on the roads. We have decreased road deaths in the province by 30.1% since the beginning of 2009 through our innovative and informed Safely Home approach to road safety. We continue to see noticeable decreases across all major classes of fatalities attesting to these interventions that have specifically targeted them.
While the numbers are still high, especially pedestrian deaths, the trend is downward and moving in the right direction. Through our Safely Home campaign, we have continued to make a noticeable dent on the carnage on our roads, and thanks to the hard work and dedicated efforts of our traffic officers, our roads are made safer and safer for all the people of the province, and the hundreds of thousands that come to visit us during the festive season.
The Western Cape is the only province to offer a 24 hour, seven day a week provincial traffic service, and the results of this dedication show in the changing behaviours experienced on our roads; where lawlessness and a complete disregard for safety reigned supreme, now we find more and more orderly driver behaviour and commitment to not only individual safety, but also the safety of others with whom we share the roads. Together, with the ever-increasing responsible road behaviour by members of the public, we are seeing citizens take responsibility for their lives, as well as the lives of others; and in doing so, increasingly giving life to our motto of “Better Together”.
We offer our sincere thanks to all our men and women who spent the season on the roads saving lives, including Provincial Traffic officers, the National Traffic Police Unit, municipal traffic officers and the South African Police Service members who collaborate on road blocks and law enforcement operations. We also extend our condolences to the families and friends of the 221 people that tragically lost their lives on our roads this festive season.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Robin Carlisle
Ministry of Transport and Public Works
Western Cape Government
Cell: 084 233 3811
Spokesperson for Dan Plato, Minister of Community Safety
Ministry of Community Safety
Western Cape Government
Cell: 073 814 9393
Provincial Traffic Chief
Department of Community Safety
Western Cape Government
Cell: 084 562 4574