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Help keep SA’s roads safe

Written by Samona Murugan
As thousands of South Africans take to the roads over holidays, motorists have been warned to take extra care and stay out of trouble.

Road accidents and deaths, often involving pedestrians, are at their highest during the festive period, according to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

The RTMC has launched its festive season road safety campaign to crack down on bad driving, in keeping with the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 campaign.

As part of the campaign, the RTMC has joined forces with the South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL), the Road Accident Fund (RAF) and toll concessionaires to police, manage, lead and coordinate smarter, ultimately ensuring safer roads.

This festive season authorities are aiming to stop and check one million cars across the country per month, as well as carry out at least 2 500 sobriety tests per province.

They will also crack down on drinking and driving, speeding, moving violations, unroadworthy vehicles, driver fatigue and pedestrian negligence.

Speeding, drinking and driving, unfit vehicles and not buckling up are the biggest contributors to road deaths and accidents, says Ashraf Ismail of the Law Enforcement Technical Committee (LETCOM), a subcommittee of the RTMC.

It is these offences authorities will be on the lookout for.

While the authorities are doing their bit, motorists have also been encouraged to play a role in ensuring their safety.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, together with the RTMC, has urged drivers to get their vehicles checked and ensure their tyres and brakes are in a roadworthy condition.

During the holidays many families take to the roads without first checking if their cars are safe to drive.

Road safety is not only a concern for drivers but pedestrians as well. Drinking and walking, jay walking and walking on freeways is against the law, Ismail warns.

More than 1 300 people died on the roads between 1 December 2012 and 4 January 2013 with 1 124 accidents taking place.

KwaZulu-Natal recorded the highest number of crashes with 226 in the same period, followed by Gauteng with 213, the Eastern Cape with 125 and Limpopo with 124 crashes. It was also found that over 80 per cent of the accidents involved young males between the ages of 19 and 34.

During that time, 220 enforcement operations were carried out throughout the country, more than 111 000 vehicles were stopped and checked and 2616 people were arrested.

Government has urged all road users to be smart and safe this festive season. Get there, no regrets.