A total of 89 motorists were arrested for drunken driving on the Cape’s roads at the weekend – 72 of whom were nabbed in four roadblocks in the Cape Town metro.
Over Friday, Saturday and Sunday (18-20 May), the figure was equal to more than one arrest for every hour.
The arrests were made despite a vigorous campaign by both the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works Safely Home campaign. The Name and Shame roll – in which the names of convicted drunken drivers were published by the Cape Argus – was part of this campaign.
This month alone, the number of drunken drivers arrested on the roads increased steadily from a figure of 55 (33 on provincial and national roads and 22 on city roads) to a staggering 89 for the past weekend (17 on provincial and national roads and 72 on city roads). The 72 motorists were caught at just four roadblocks in the city, which started on Friday and continued through to Sunday.
* On Friday, officers arrested 15 motorists on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol during roadblocks along Nooiensfontein and Van Riebeek roads in Kuils River. One breathalyser test registered 1.11mg of alcohol per 1 000ml of breath. (The legal breath alcohol limit is less than 0.24mg in 1 000ml of breath.)
* That same day, officers arrested another 14 drunken drivers during roadblocks along Helen Suzman Boulevard in Sea Point. The highest breathalyser test registered 0.77mg of alcohol per 1 000ml of breath.
* On Sunday afternoon traffic officers arrested 15 drunken drivers during a roadblock along Vanguard Drive, between Frans Conradie and Milton roads in Goodwood. One breathalyser test registered 1mg of alcohol per 1 000ml of breath.
* Later that afternoon, officers arrested 28 drunken drivers during a roadblock along Spine Road, between Walter Sisulu and Ntlazane roads, in Khayelitsha. The highest breathalyser test registered 1.3mg of alcohol per 1 000ml of breath.
The City of Cape Town’s traffic services spokeswoman, Maxine Jordaan, said the number of drunk drivers being arrested depended on where roadblocks were held. “We are seeing more people being arrested for drunken driving in the late afternoons.”
Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said the number of drunken drivers arrested was increasing and pointed to the “bad attitude towards other road users”.
The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said the high number of arrests for drunken driving was an indication that its campaign to curb the problem was working.
“The decline is based on diminishing road fatalities in the past two years and we are almost reaching our 25 percent goal,” said Smith.
: “Our motorists need to change their attitude. They need to be more cautious and careful. There is no need to overtake.
“Three of the accidents this weekend were head-on collisions. We will not stop with our efforts to keep drunk drivers and speedsters off our roads.”
Africa said other drivers who saw reckless and negligent driving should report to the traffic officials what they saw.
“People should use our number, 021 946 1646, to report the wrongdoing,” he said.
Caro Smit, director of South Africans Against Drunken Driving (Sadd), said the Western Cape appeared to be doing well in terms of arresting drunk drivers.
“But the Department of Justice is not treating these cases as serious crimes. Hundreds of billions are lost every year because of drunk drivers,” she said.
“What concerns Sadd is the prosecution. We want people to be tested and tried within two weeks so that their licences can be suspended.”
- Cape Argus