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Arrive Alive is dead

2003-12-09 09:40

John Oxley

I think the whole Arrive Alive campaign stinks. Twice a year the Government throws megabucks at a marketing campaign to try to make road users more aware of each other, and the rest of the year they simply ignore the carnage that has put South Africa right at the top of the world road deaths log.

Let's face it, as far as the authorities are concerned, they would rather send traffic officers out on their little camp chairs to set speed traps than do proper policing of our roads.

Take an example. All year long the traffic passes along a section of Otto Du Plessis Drive near my home in Cape Town quite happily.

It's a dual carriageway, with sand dunes on one side and a vlei on the other. It's wide, with a more-than-adequate emergency lane which cyclists use to keep away from the cars, and I've never seen an accident there.

But sure enough, every Christmas the vultures are out, three or four of them perched on the back of a Venture minibus, pointing their laser gun at unsuspecting motorists.

Christmas quotas

Yes, you've guessed it, they're filling their quotas so they can get in extra cash for Christmas.

The funny thing is, the traffic on the other carriageway slows down to walking pace as drivers stare at the boys in blue - to the point where we nearly had a bumper bashing this morning.

Of course it was the driver who was not watching what he was doing who was to blame - but the cops did nothing to help by setting up their stupid speed trap on the right-hand side of the road.

At the same time, just think how much more policing could have been achieved had those four traffic cops been each placed in a different traffic black spot.

I notice, too, that Arrive Alive isn't going to issue statistics until the body count is final.

You know, just about the only thing that has worked about Arrive Alive in the past has been the fact that we have been bombarded with the numbers of dead and maimed throughout the holiday season.

Now we will just have to make do with driving with our lights on!

So who benefits most from Arrive Alive? The organisers, the marketers, and the advertising agency. Certainly not Joe Public!

Let's stop wasting all these millions on a meaningless - useless - campaign, and instead spend it on training and equipping more traffic officers.

It's well documented that we need a lot more than we have at the moment - and they don't belong behind laser guns.

The only way to stop the carnage is to re-assess our whole system of traffic law enforcement. We certainly can't afford a meaningless campaign that the public has clearly rejected.

By the way, before I get bombarded with sarcastic e-mails, I HAVEN'T been caught in that speed trap. How can I be - like the rest of my neighbourhood, I know it's there!

What do you think about Arrive Alive?

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