Officials stress road safety

Well over 650 people have already died on SA's roads since the beginning of December.

The wreckage of a car on the N1 near Beaufort West on Sunday 16 December 2012, in which four people died. Picture: Melvyn Boiskin/iWitness.

CAPE TOWN - Since the beginning of December well over 650 deaths have been recorded around the country.

Western Cape traffic authorities are said to make their presence felt on all of the province's most dangerous roads.

Among them is the N1 in the Karoo, which has been labelled the notorious 'road of death'.

Officials are also focussing their attention on the R27, the N7 and several parts of the N2 in the garden route region.

More than 80 people have died on Western Cape roads this month alone.

This amounts to a 35 percent increase from 2011.

Western Cape Traffic Chief Kenny Africa said thousands of speeding fines have already issued this month.

"Nearly 70,000 vehicles were tested and over 5,000 motorists exceeded the speed limit."

The City of Cape Town said there were still far too many motorists drinking before getting behind the wheel.

Over the weekend 59 drunk drivers were nabbed at roadblocks across the city.

City bosses said drunk driving, not wearing a seat belt and speed continue to be the biggest killers on the roads.

Safety and Security Mayoral Committee (Mayco) Member JP Smith said people still haven't gotten the message that the should not to drink and drive.

"Drunk driving is still a major problem, you'd think people would listen with all the campaigns through the media. We're seeing less of it than before, but it's still too much."

RULES OF THE ROAD

Traffic volumes on Western Cape roads are expected to increase on Friday as motorists, long distance taxi and bus drivers hit the road for the holidays.

Provincial transport authorities have again reiterated the importance of obeying the rules of the road.

Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said everyone should drive safely.

"There has been absolute battlefield on our provincial roads, so please be very careful."

He added the road death toll rate is shocking.

"Please take every precaution and do not exceed the speed limit, do no drink and do not drive when you're fatigued."

RTMC CAMPAIGN

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) on Thursday launched its new road safety campaign in Johannesburg which is set to replace the former Arrive Alive project.

'Get there. No regrets' is the new mantra law enforcement agencies and transport officials want motorists to consider before getting behind the wheel.

The RTMC's Collins Letsoalo said the new campaign seeks to encourage motorists to complete their road trips without any regrets.

"Anyone who is wishing for a safer journey must think about the consequences and what happens when you don't adhere to the rules of the road."

Letsoalo said this is not strictly a festive season campaign - but an all-year-round attempt to change driver behaviour.

"Most of the people who die during the festive season, die as a result of head-on collisions - this is the same for people who die during May, June, July and August, including pedestrians."

Lead SA's Yusuf Abramjee said, "Road safety should not only be an issue over Christmas, long weekends and over Easter, it should become a campaign for each and every day."

Television and radio adverts will compliment roadside signage.

The Tshwane Metro police will launch its festive season campaign with a road block on the notorious Moloto Road on Friday.