'Fatigued drivers will be stopped'

WC traffic authorities have been instructed to pullover fatigued long distance drivers for their own safety.

Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape transport authorities admitted on Monday they may have a problem forcing some overly fatigued motorists to take a break during their journeys.

Officials will be focusing on driver fatigue in their festive season road safety campaign this year.

Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said he wants officers to force fatigued motorists to rest.

"They will need very powerful persuasions not to stop and hold people who are in an unfit state to be on the road. As far as fatigue is concerned, every single long distance vehicle will be stopped and the driver will be scrutinised for fatigue."

He added the taxi industry seems to be taking measures to ensure drivers don't nod off behind the wheel.

"Quite a few of the taxis are now carrying a second driver. Because they want to get through the trip quite quickly and figured out it is probably worthwhile to take a second driver."

Western Cape Traffic Chief Kenny Africa said the road carnage already started last week.

"On Thursday we had seven fatalities, on Friday we had eight fatalities and on Saturday two."

Meanwhile, the department said vehicle checks are crucial as it serves as an early warning of faults that could potentially be dangerous.

The department along with the City of Cape Town launched the Free Safety Checks campaign for long distance taxis at Airport Industria on Monday.

Motorists can go to vehicle testing centres in Bellville, Tableview, Retreat and Athlone to have their vehicles tested for free.

Carlisle said, "It's a good quick check to see if your brakes are going to be okay, to see if your suspension is going to be okay and other things. It's a good safety check if you're going away for the holidays and it doesn't cost you a thing."

The campaign will run until 23 December.