The days between mid-December to mid-January are the busiest, with lots of people travelling in one direction or the other for Christmas and New year festivities. Reports over the years have also revealed that the rate of traffic violations and road traffic crashes are higher within this same period. With more than 1,600 people killed on SA roads over the 2018/2019 festive season, Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula has considered a number of changes to the country’s traffic laws, including a 0% blood alcohol level for drivers and reducing national speed limits.
The Ministers Spokesperson, Ayanda-Allie Paine said the minister had received a “plethora of proposals” on how to reduce the carnage on SA’s roads. “These suggestions include, but are not limited to, the reduction of speed limits as well as the proposal to reduce the blood alcohol level to 0%,” Paine said. She added that all the suggestions were considered and some were put to the test to measure their viability and are then either adopted or ruled out when judged against the country’s legal framework and other criteria said Paine”
According to Paine “These suggestions include, but are not limited to, the reduction of speed limits as well as the proposal to reduce the blood alcohol level to 0%,”. Paine said the proposal could see speed limits on the country’s roads reduced by 20km/h. This would effectively drop the speed limit on the country’s highways from 120km/h to 100km/h, while the limits on main roads would drop from 100km/h to 80km/h. Speed limits in residential areas would decrease from 60km/h to 40km/h.
In October, Mbalula announced the new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act would be in full effect from June next year (2020). The act will introduce a new demerit system meaning all traffic fines across the country will now carry the same penalty. Mbalula said the new system would greatly improve safety on the country’s roads and help reduce fatalities.
In the meantime, Mbalula will also be launching the festive season safety campaign in Joburg. He will join Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) chief David Tembe during a roadblock on the M2 Crown Interchange. JMPD spokesperson chief superintendent Wayne Minnaar said: “The focus of the campaign will be to address unroadworthy vehicles, drunk and driving, and bad driving behaviour through effective law enforcement and visible policing to encourage motorists to obey road rules, and in this way, reduce road fatalities this festive season.”