The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has warned drivers in South Africa that policing efforts are being ramped up on the country’s roads ahead of the festive season.
The group said that motorists who intend to travel for the festive season holidays need to start fixing their vehicles and ensure that they are fit to be on the roads, or risk having their cars impounded.
“Law enforcement operations are being stepped up on the roads, and officers have vowed to clamp down on unroadworthy vehicles as they contribute to road crashes and fatalities. No excuses will be accepted,” it said.
Campaigns have already kicked off on major routes and are expected to continue throughout the festive period.
Authorities are specifically looking at vehicles that have defects, as well as drivers who are over the alcohol limit.
According to the RTMC, specific defects are under the spotlight, as they have been identified as being core contributors to fatal crashes on the roads:
- Defective brakes;
- Burst tyres;
- Defective lights.
“Law enforcement officers will not hesitate to discontinue and even impound vehicles with the above defects, including cracked windscreens,” it said.
“The impoundment of a vehicle will cause great inconvenience to motorists as they will have to fix the vehicle at extra costs and have the vehicle taken for roadworthy tests before it is allowed on the road again. This will be in addition to traffic fines and impoundment fees.”
The group advised that motorists ensure these defects are dealt with to avoid having their trips interrupted by “foreseeable and preventable factors”.
With heavy rainfalls predicted for this period, the RTMC said that wipers will also be looked at to make sure they are in a perfect state as they affect visibility on rainy days.
Regarding drunk driving, the RTMC said that this is also a major contributor to road fatalities in the country and warned that traffic officers are scaling up operations to clamp down on the act.
The group said motorists should organise a sober driver or make use of public transport services if they intend on going out to end-of-year parties and other festivities.
While the government failed to pass its ‘zero tolerance’ regulations for drunk driving, South Africa’s alcohol limit is still firmly in place. Any driver with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.05g per 100 millilitres is over the limit.
For professional drivers, the limit is 0.02g per 100 millilitres.
Police will also be looking carefully at vehicle and driver’s licences, the RTMC said, after several high profile cases of fraud and corruption at licencing centres were uncovered.
“Anti-corruption agents are keeping an eye on transactions conducted at licencing centres,” the group said, noting that in the last month, 15 motorists were arrested for displaying fraudulent discs on their vehicles, and four traffic officials were arrested for bribery, fraud, and corruption.
A recent probe by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) uncovered a large number of licences that were fraudulently issued. In October, almost 200,000 fraudulent licences were sent to be cancelled and destroyed.
Beyond an increase in traffic policing, the SAPS will also be out in full force as part of a wider visibility campaign, which will also include a crackdown on non-road-related crimes like break-ins.
Acting National Commissioner of the SAPS, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili, said that heightened police visibility will be the order of the day.
Blitz operations will be conducted across all provinces on days and times aligned to the crime pattern and threat analyses. These crime prevention and combatting operations will run through to the end of January 2023, he said.
The key focuses of the SAPS this holiday season are:
- Intensifying efforts to combat aggravated robberies, such as carjacking, robberies at residential premises and business robberies.
- Enhancing border security with search operations on suspicion of stolen property being smuggled out of the country; illegal crossing of borders; human trafficking; drug trafficking; and tracing of wanted suspects.
- Enforcing by-laws and ensuring the enforcement of road safety together with metro and national traffic law enforcement officers.