Minister of Community Safety, Lennit Max and City of Cape Town Mayco member, JP Smith will today launch a 30 day blitz on seatbelt and number plate compliance, and cell phone usage while driving.
At 13h00 today, Minister Max and Transport Minister Robin Carlisle will travel in separate Ghost Squad police cars to personally observe the operation.
[ad#Google Adsense 125×125 Blog Post]Over the next month, a team constituted of provincial and City of Cape Town traffic officials will conduct a variety of mini-blitzes throughout the metropole to clampdown on the three traffic offences.
The CoCT processed 1874 number plate offences, 661 cell phone offences and 3034 safety belt offences in January.
Minister Carlisle said: “The blitz is the first of a rollout of special traffic enforcement operations for 2010 under the banner of the provincial government’s Safely Home campaign which aims to halve road fatalities in the province by 2014. The province and city are determined to avoid the spike in road carnage of recent years.”
Minister Max was emphatic that the blitz will help change perceptions about seatbelt compliance.
“Many motorists only wear a seatbelt to avoid a fine or arrest. We want motorists to buckle up because they can save lives by simply wearing their seatbelts. Too many lives have been lost on our roads due to human negligence. Research shows that we can reduce road fatalities by at least 30% by enforcing seatbelt compliance”.
Minister Max also urged motorists to take personal responsibility for the safety of their passengers. “Every motorist must also ensure that their passengers buckle up. Motorists who fail to do so will be prosecuted without fear or favour”.
A recent study by the Automobile Association (AA) showed that South Africa’s average seatbelt wearing rate for all occupants is 56%. This is too low compared to international practice.
Cllr. Smith highlighted the real dangers of using a cell phone while driving. “Using a cell phone while driving, be it talking or texting, has the same consequences as drunk driving. It results in avoidable accidents and fatalities. We hope this blitz will significantly reverse the reckless trend of using a cell phone while driving”.
The mini-blitzes are rooted in “back to basics” government, Max observed. When basic traffic laws are adhered to, citizens’ adherence of all traffic laws increases dramatically.
Research shows that a staggering 80% of all road accidents can be attributed to human factors in South Africa. The Human Factors Quarterly Journal crisply states: “Cell phone distraction causes a multitude of deaths and injuries yearly”.
The same study reveals that motorists who engage in cell phone conversations while driving are less capable than drunk drivers with blood alcohol levels exceeding 0.08. The ubiquity of cell phones in our society fuels these alarming statistics.
Lets be careful out there people!