SA: Home of sleeping policemen
NO COPS AT NIGHT: RTMC acting CEO Collins Letsoalo (inset) believes the reason for SA officers not operating late at night comes from a policy many decades ago when there were fewer cars on our roads.
Author: Penwell Dlamini
JOHANNESBURG - SA's traffic cops sleep from 10pm-6am, except in the Western Cape, Road Traffic Management Corporation acting CEO Collins Letsoalo has revealed.
"Our statistics show that most road crashes happen between 7pm and midnight, when our officers are not there," he said. "When we say let's remove the legacy and move to a 24-hour service, people say: 'Where is the money?' Most of the [traffic] authorities, even if they work at night, use a skeleton staff."
Letsoalo told a road-safety conference in Boksburg, near Johannesburg: "Which means, effectively, that from 10pm-6am there is no law enforcement on the road."
The provincial authorities, save for the Western Cape, worked only from 6am-10pm, which allows speeders and drunk drivers to operate between those times.
"Now we want a 24-hour service. The question that we must ask ourselves is, if it [accidents] cost the economy R307-billion a year, I'm sure there should be money to save that money through that process [increasing officers during the night]."
Letsoalo said the RTMC, nationally, had 17 000 officers, that 10 000 of them were based in Gauteng and that the Road Accident Fund (RAF) spent R14-billion a year in payouts.
"I'm sure that at some point it makes more sense to prevent what RAF is paying out. That is our view."
Letsoalo presented to delegates the country's strategy to reduce road fatalities by 20% a year and law enforcement topped the priorities.
FIGHT AGAINST ALCOHOL
A study conducted by the RTMC had shown that if the country increased its seat-bealt wearing to 70% road deaths would be reduced by 30% from the current official number of 14 000 a year.
Second on the strategy priorities was the fight against alcohol and driving. Letsoalo said: "Our problem is that there has been a low rate of conviction. It is less than 10%."
In the past year 13 000 people had been arrested on the roads, 3000 of them for "drunken driving".
"Only 300 of those will be convicted."