Campaign launched to make roads safer

Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant delivers his speech at the Gene Louw Traffic College in Brackenfell on Thursday, December 6.

With drunk driving causing the loss of many lives over the festive season, Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant and the Western Cape Government are looking to reduce the risk of road carnage with two new mobile alcohol testing units.

This was heard at the launch of the #BoozeFreeRoads – Alcohol and Roads Don’t Mix campaign at the Gene Louw Traffic College in Brackenfell on Thursday December 6.

The aim of the campaign is to redue the number of people either injured or killed on Cape Town’s roads.

“With the festive season now upon us, our ability to work together, with our shared vision and commitment, will be what motivates our efforts to improving safety on our roads during this special time of the year for many of our citizens,” said Mr Grant.

He said the usual influx of holiday-makers will soon begin their journeys to their destinations which will place additional pressure on all law enforcement agencies tasked with maintaining law and order on the roads.

During December 1, last year and January 31, this year, more than 262 lives were lost which was an increase from the previous year, and about 372 pedestrians, who were under the influence of alcohol, were killed on Western Cape roads last year.

Mr Grant added that at the centre of any road safety initiative remained a strong focus on avoiding walking and driving while drunk.

“The consumption of alcohol, even in relatively small amounts, and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle or walking, increases the risk of being involved in a crash for motorists and pedestrians,” he said. “Not only does alcohol impair processes critical to safe road use, such as vision and reaction time, it is also associated with poor judgement and so is often linked to other high-risk road use behaviours such as speeding or not using seat-belts.”

As part of the department’s proactive safety measures, 490 provincial traffic officers and 40 trainee traffic officer students received the necessary training to use the newly introduced technology, which enables officials to have direct roadside access to verify the validity of driving and motor vehicle licences, professional driving permits, speeding offences at all Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD) sites across the city.

The keys to new patrol cars were also handed over to the trainee officers and students by MEC Grant.

Mr Grant said he felt optimistic about the launch of the two new mobile alcohol testing units and new staff trained to help curb the fatalities on the roads this holiday season.