The City of Cape Town has detailed a number of traffic changes heading into the festive season and beyond.
In a statement released on Monday (12 November) the city’s mayoral committee member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith, said that vehicle checkpoints, routine traffic stops and visible policing have assisted in a number of enforcement successes for city enforcement staff.
He added that the city was now looking at introducing 24-hour traffic cops.
According to a report by Cape Argus, if approved, Cape Town would have its own dedicated 24-hour traffic unit to patrol the city’s roads night and day.
Currently, only the provincial traffic officers operate on a 24-hour basis, but are mostly focused in areas outside the metro and on provincial and national roads.
“With the mooted introduction of a 24-hour traffic presence on our roads, our staff will be able to conduct more vehicle checkpoints – an invaluable tool in crime fighting as it often lifts the lid on criminals after the fact, or puts a spanner in the works for planned criminal activity,” said Smith.
Smith also confirmed that Cape Town will increase the frequency of roadblocks to deal with the demands of the festive season.
“I think it’s worth reminding motorists that drunk driving isn’t the only offence for which you can be arrested on the roads.
“If you have outstanding warrants, please settle them or risk a nasty surprise at a vehicle checkpoint or roadblock, which will increase in frequency soon to deal with the demands of the festive season.
“Earlier this year, we announced that we had taken the pain out of finalising fines that had progressed to warrant stage by implementing an online payment option.
“So, there really is no excuse not to pay outstanding fines unless the intent is not to pay at all. If that is the case, then I have no sympathy for individuals who do find themselves in the queue at a roadblock or checkpoint,” said Smith.
Cape Town Traffic Service arrested 66 motorists in the past week including 44 for drunk driving and 18 for outstanding warrants.
Officers also issued 5,721 fines for various transgressions, Alderman said.
Cape Town also recently announced that it will launch a new Mobile Alcohol Evidentiary Breath Alcohol Testing (EBAT) vehicle.
The new EBAT vehicle will be the second unit of its type deployed in South Africa, joining a unit currently deployed by Provincial Traffic Services in the Caledon district last year, the city said.
EBAT vehicles are specially converted panel vans equipped to enable officers to take evidentiary breath samples from motorists anywhere, any time.
Positive samples can be used in court to convict motorists driving under the influence, removing the need for a blood test. The vehicles are deployed in support of roadblocks and Random Breath Testing (RBT) operations.
The EBAT system differs from blood tests in that the results are immediate.
Evidentiary breath alcohol testing (EBAT) uses a machine which can read how much alcohol is in a person’s breath.
When tested, two breath samples are taken. If the lower of the two test results is not less than 0.24mg of alcohol per 1,000ml of breath, the driver will be charged.
It is called ‘evidentiary’ as the reading can be produced as evidence to prosecute individuals accused of drinking and driving. This machine, the people who operate it, and the location it operates in, must all pass a very specific and demanding set of tests in order to be used to prosecute suspects.