One of the key focus areas for traffic law-enforcement officers this festive season is to decrease the number of fatalities of road users aged between 24 and 34 which they describe as the most problematic drivers on the country’s roads.
“The excitement of youthful drivers is one of the things that leads to high number of fatal accidents on the roads. We have noticed that there is a behavioural issue because of the high levels of adrenaline and youthful exuberance,” Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesperson Simon Zwane said yesterday.
He said road users will see a large presence of officers as the fight to decrease the number of fatalities commences.
Zwane said road users in the 24 and 34 age bracket tend to drive under the influence of alcohol when embarking on long-distance travels.
“We also found that their vehicles are often overloaded. Oftentimes we find that vehicle roadworthiness is a problem – mostly public transport,” he said.
Last year, vehicle roadworthiness was a factor in 7% of fatal crashes that occurred over the festive season.
Zwane said 4,016 vehicles were discontinued last year, while 2,967 were impounded in the same period. “More than 1,800 vehicles have been discontinued (so far this year) after it was discovered that they were being operated on public roads while they had major defects that placed the lives of other road users at risk.
“An additional 1,465 public transport vehicles have been impounded for operating contrary to their permits and overloading of passengers,” Zwane said.
He said some of the major defects identified in the vehicles include faulty brakes, dysfunctional steering racks, smooth tyres and badly cracked windscreens.
“Motorists are warned that they risk discontinuation of their vehicles if they have modified the vehicles contrary to manufacturers’ specifications,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Gauteng department of transport said motorists whose driver’s licences expired in September will receive text messages with the available renewal time slots.
The department’s Theo Nkonki says motorists will be asked to book their dates within seven days. “We are going to send text messages, especially to the people who have had their licences expired at the end of September to remind them to renew and further to that, we are giving slots that are available to do so.”
A firm will also be appointed to probe allegations of corruption at licensing centres. “We are in the process of appointing an investigative firm that will help us get to the bottom of corruption. We want to get down to the root, find the perpetrators, and bring them to book and that process will take place early at the beginning of 2021,” said Nkonki.
Last month, 51,000 drivers were able to renew their licences after a huge backlog.
The department noted an increase in the availability of booking slots to more than 80,000 from 50,000 slots the previous month.