Arrive alive at your destination

ENSURING COMPLIANCE: Transport department MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe interacting with a taxi driver at a roadblock on the N6 just outside Komani during the 2020 Festive Season Arrive Alive Campaign launch on Friday Picture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

Officers are out in full force to curb the rate of road collisions

Cell phone headsets are said to be one of the reasons why seven pedestrians were killed in road accidents last month when 25 people died in the province.

This was revealed at the 2020 Festive Season Arrive Alive Campaign launched by transport department MEC, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, on the N6 near Komani on Friday.

Tikana-Gxothiwe called on road users and motorists in particular, to work with law enforcement officers to curb, if not completely eliminate, accidents on the province’s roads.

The MEC said road users who disregarded the rules of the road would be dealt with.

The department is expecting the delivery of number plate recognition system buses over the weekend to add to our efforts so that motorists have accessible ways of paying fines. Komani is a strategic place where taxis coming on the R61 from the Western Cape and the N6 from Gauteng converge,” said Tikana-Gxothiwe.

Eastern Cape transport department spokesperson Unathi Binqose said the purpose of the campaign was to make sure those travelling long distances via the N6 would arrive safely at their destinations.

A part of their mission was to ensure motorists complied with Covid-19 regulations such as the wearing of face masks and using hand sanitisers in vehicles, as failure to do so would lead to penalties.

“We are reassessing operating licences for public transportation and shuttle services because these are some of the reasons why fights erupt in the public transport industry. “We are inspecting vehicles for roadworthiness as unroadworthy vehicles often lead to road accidents. “We are sending a message to passengers to call out drivers when they drive recklessly.”

Last year’s road collision statistics in the Eastern Cape recorded 81 road deaths, down from 102 in 2019.

Binqose hope was for zero deaths which was a tough call.

If I have managed to survive every December, the same is possible for others. “

Although collisions happened almost daily, Binqose said the department’s focus was on those resulting in fatalities.

What was rarely spoken about, according to him, was the harsh reality of the impact road collisions had on survivors. “For every person who dies in a road accident there are at least three or four whose lives are tragically affected. They either become wheelchair bound or sustain internal injuries with long term health effects. Accidents also create pressure on the road accident fund,” Binqose said.

There were people who, he said, were making fun of those who deliberately got themselves involved in accidents with the aim to cash in on the road accident fund. A gamble which, could lead to their death.

Binqose said people should get this out of their minds and instead to preserve their lives.

Not all people are reckless drivers. A collisions means one of the drivers was wrong. People need to remember that roads are shared spaces. There is a tendency for passengers not to use safety belts in public transport. They think they are only meant for the front seats. Many people end up losing their lives when they are flung out of the vehicle.”

Motorists should also never operate phones while driving, Binqose said.

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