It’s December, people. And as we all know by now, this festive season goes by another name… the silly season. This is the time of year when you can never be too careful out on the roads. With the tragic passing of much-loved movie star Paul Walker still fresh in our minds, it should serve as a sobering reminder to be responsible out on the roads for this holiday period.
With this message being the driving force behind it, the Safely Home campaign kicked off yesterday morning with a blitz roadblock, held just outside Paarl. During the roadblock, traffic officers pulled over hundreds of cars for routine checks, which included driver and vehicle fitness checks – as well as car searches for illegal substances such as drugs. Within the first hour of the roadblock, the officers detained an unlicensed driver who was found to be transporting about a dozen commuters in a taxi.
Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa stated that the goal for December and January respectively, would be for the Provincial traffic officers to work closely together with other law enforcement agencies in the Western Cape to continue to hold blitz roadblocks, with the intention of stopping at least 200 000 cars for each month respectively. He also added that there would be a focused effort on raising awareness on drunk driving, fatigued drivers, pedestrian safety as well as encouraging back seat passengers to buckle up as well – this point will especially be addressed, following the shocking death of a six-year-old boy during the course of this week after he was flung through the windscreen in a crash on Sir Lowry’s pass earlier this week.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato was also in attendance at the blitz roadblock, assisting the traffic officers in handing out disposable breathalyser kits to motorists, urging them to ensure that they were below the legal limit before getting into the driver’s seat. He also stressed that the success of the Safely Home campaign largely weighed on the public’s support for it: “If there is one message that I can give to motorists in the province this year, it would be this – please, work with us. Do your part as well; we need YOUR help to make our roads safer. We cannot do this on our own.”
So, as we head into the festive season, please ensure that your car is in sound mechanical condition, that your tyres and brakes are in good shape, that all your lights are working (especially tail lights and brake lights) – but, most importantly: If you and your family are planning a long-distance trip during the festive season, it is of paramount importance to ensure that you as the driver remains alert and super awake at all times! If you feel even the slightest bit fatigued, it is strongly recommended that you pull over at the nearest stop to either freshen up, or to grab a power nap. There should be two words seared into your mind whenever you’re out on the roads this festive season: Safely Home.