Eastern Cape MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Weziwe Tikana will officially launch the 2017 Festive Season Road Safety Campaign in Viedgesville (near Mqanduli) in the O.R. Tambo District Municipality tomorrow.
In a statement by the department today, it was indicated that the festive season period was generally characterised by high traffic volumes on different routes in the Eastern Cape. “Apart from the industry shutdown and school holidays, the period is also characterised by religious pilgrimages and mass events.”
Fatalities over the period had remained unacceptably high with alcohol consumption being one of the contributing factors. Statistics from the Medical Research Council indicate that 58% of road death in South Africa are alcohol related while the South African Police Service reports that in the 2016/17 financial year about 4675 drivers were caught driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol on the provincial roads. The campaign will therefore pay a particular focus on drinking and driving as a causal factor to road crashes.
“We are making a call to those who will be attending year end parties and other ceremonies to make arrangements with friends and family for their trip back home. A sober driver is a safer driver,” said MEC Tikana.
The Eastern Cape last year had a 20% reduction in fatality rates, bringing the number down from 265 in 2015/16 to 211 in 2016/17.
“We are hoping that our plans will lead to a further reduction this year.”
Among the strategies to be used are rolling speed checks throughout the province which will be intensified from December 22 to 27.
“We will strengthen our visibility on the road to ensure the safety of all road users. Irresponsible, reckless and negligent behaviour on the road is not acceptable and we will work hard to uproot such risky behaviour on our roads.”
During the launch, the MEC will also announce other measures to be used in the fight against accidents, including the introduction of additional trucks to be used for impounding stray animals. She will also take time to interact with motorists and other road users as part of creating awareness on road safety issues.