Here's how the Western Cape plans to make the roads safer this festive season

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 COMING DOWN HARD: The Western Cape Government will not tolerate drunk driving this festive season. ~ iStock

Cape Town - The Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works, Donald Grant says the road death pandemic has reached alarming levels.

"Road injuries and death, in this province alone, cost the Western Cape economy an estimated R21-billion, with an even more staggering R306-billion cost to South Africa alone, due to the loss of some 17 000 people annually on our roads", says the MEC. 

"The continued loss of life on our roads robs this country of resources that could be directed at improving the delivery of essential services to many that need it."


This year's operational theme to crack down on the festive season is themed: #BoozeFreeRoads Alcohol and Roads Don’t Mix.

Earlier in December, the department launched their roads safety initiative, Safely Home, with the new 'Ubuthakathi' campaign which is part of the “Alcohol and Roads Don’t Mix” theme, focussing on pedestrians that are under the influence.

READ: #Boozefreeroads - WCape's shocking holiday ad. It has drinking demons...

Statistics have shown that more than 600 pedestrians are killed on Western Cape roads every year. This is 50 per month or about 11 per week. They represent 49% of the total fatalities, per the most recent figures for 2016. Most of these pedestrians are killed on weekend nights and are under the influence of alcohol (61% where Blood Alcohol Content is known). Too often the driver who hits them is too.

Grant says: "The Western Cape Government says the province has made every effort to ensure safe roads over the festive season. Despite resource constraints, the Provincial traffic officers remain the only traffic service to operate a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year traffic enforcement service.

"This will be intensified over the upcoming festive season." 

Click on the gif below to watch the original video:

There will be more round-the-clock enforcement operations over this festive season, claims Grant and the focus will be on the following:

1. Driving under the influence of alcohol

2. Excessive speed

3. Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD)

4. Driver Fatigue management, carried out later in the night when most fatigue-related crashes occur.

5. Driver/vehicle fitness

6. Distracted driving 

7. Public transport

8. Pedestrian safety

9. Seatbelt compliance  

10. Inter provincial operations

11. Licencing plates 

12. Safe following distances 

13. Transportation of illegal substances/elicit cigarettes

Grant joined the public transport vehicle inspections at Joe Gqabi Transport Interchange in Philippi East on Tuesday morning (Dec 13). These inspections form part of the “Public Transport Sticker Project”, which is a joint venture between the City of Cape Town, and the Department of Transport and Public Works, and is carried out during the busy “Exodus” periods of the year (Easter and Festive Season) when many public transport vehicles will be transporting passengers to their various holiday destinations.

"During last year’s operation, a total of 2780 public transport vehicles were checked from December 10 - 24 2015. Of the checked vehicles, 1596 (57%) passed the inspections; with 1184 (43%) failing. 87 of those vehicles were impounded during the checks," says Grant.

The checks seek to ensure that on public transport vehicles:

  • Lights, indicators and tyres are in proper working order. No parts of the tyres may be smooth, including the spare tyre.

  • Brakes and shock absorbers must be in good condition and replaced in good time. 

  • Seatbelts must be in good working condition, and vehicles transporting children must have age-appropriate child seats and restraints.

Incident hotspots

Motorists must also exercise extreme caution when travelling on the roads this festive season, particularly at previously identified hotspots for incidents and crashes, namely; the R27 West Coast; the N1, N2, N7; as well as the R300. Enforcement activities will also be focussed on these locations.

Positive actions by all road users will continue to be the difference between life and death. In this regard, motorists themselves must carry the bulk of the burden, and are urged:

  • Not to speed

  • Not to drink and drive

  • To be extra mindful of pedestrians (who make up close to half of all the fatalities in the province)

  • Not to use cellphones while driving

  • To ensure that they buckle up, and most importantly that children in the vehicle are buckled up