Speech by Minister Ricardo Mackenzie at the launch of the 2023/24 Festive Season Road Safety Plan

01 December 2023 | From Arrive Alive


Thank you for being here today, as we launch our Festive Season Road Safety Plan for 2023/2024. On this significant occasion, I am not only addressing those who are gathered here. My message is for all road users in our province.In your mind’s eye, picture the 583 Provincial Traffic Officers who will be deployed across
the Western Cape this Festive Season. These men and women won’t have a Christmas holiday with their families. No braai, no visit to the beach, no opening gifts with kids. They
will be in their patrol vehicles keeping the N2, N1, or another route safe, for you. The influx of traffic into and out of the Western Cape will surge dramatically over the next
few weeks. Our Officers will be working hard to ensure that everyone reaches their destination and their loved ones safely.
Every time there is a fatal traffic crash on our roads it is devastating. Devastating for the families of the victims, for the officials and first responders on the scene, and for those of
us receiving the message. It is most devastating because these tragic incidents are so often preventable.

Our Western Cape Mobility Department has an intensive, multi-pronged approach to road safety. In theory, the significant resources dedicated to road safety should eradicate
traffic crashes and fatalities. But we are human beings, and our reality and behaviour are not theoretical.
We take chances, push the boundaries, and operate in denial of the very real risks around the corner. We believe we can get away with dangerous behaviour just one more time,
and we justify it with pressured schedules, impatience or false necessity. Preventing traffic crashes requires concerted efforts and discipline from all road users.
The remarkable efforts of our officials – not to mention all the other road safety role players
and resources we have in our province – are not enough. Each road user, each one of us, has to come to the party. Changing our behaviour and complying with the rules of the road.

2023/24 Festive Season Road Safety Plan

Our focus for the festive season is high visibility enforcement on all routes, targeting alcohol, fatigue, public transport and speed. As far as possible, we aim to maximise enforcement coverage across the road network, rather than being limited to static operations in certain locations. The Festive Season Plan includes mandatory operations and specific interventions that are part of our alignment to the UN decade of action on Road Safety, with the goal to reduce road fatalities by 50% in the year 2030.
Our operational priorities are also informed by Advanced Analytics and predictive modelling for each specific area.

Daily operations across all districts in the province will include:
 

• High visibility patrols monitoring moving violation offences;
• Speed enforcement, including Average Speed Over Distance monitoring; and
• Roadblocks to detect drunk driving, driver fatigue, and passenger overloading; as
well as enforcing seat belt usage; and checking documentation, driver fitness, and
vehicle fitness.
On top of these daily operations, we have a comprehensive programme of:
• Inter-provincial corridor operations in collaboration with our neighbouring
provinces;
• Pedestrian awareness interventions;
• Driver awareness interventions focusing on alcohol for public transport operators;
and
• Integrated fatigue operations on key routes
The strategy and planning have been carefully thought through, with a number of key
drivers to achieve our objectives:
• Deployment strategy based on critical periods and historical data;
• Education and awareness interventions that will reach all road user types;
• Effective communication initiatives and social media posting throughout festive
period;
• Improve response time and effective incident management to regulate traffic
movements;
• Improved planning techniques by the inclusion of predictive analysis locations,
trends, and targeted road user types;
• Well-reasoned deployment between high visibility deployments and static
operations on all routes;
• Freight monitoring and mobile weight screening;
• Regulate driver and operator usage of public transport by monitoring rest periods
and driver fatigue issues;
• Speed enforcement based on critical periods and historical data;
• Alcohol enforcement and a zero-tolerance approach; and
• Driver and vehicle fitness interventions.

And we do not just focus on the December festive season. The teams already started ramping up their operations during October Transport Month, with November Pre-Festive
Season build-up interventions, and they will continue in January with Post Festive Season interventions.

365 days a year approach to road safety

I want to emphasise that while our teams have an enhanced programme of operations during these critical periods, they tackle the issue of road safety 365 days a year. These
interventions are conducted on an ongoing basis. We strive for safer mobility in our province through structured Traffic Law Enforcement interventions coupled with effective road safety education, communication, and awareness programmes to positively influence all road users towards improved behaviour
on our road network. The core function of our Traffic Management Chief Directorate is to reduce road fatalities and crashes on provincial routes by ensuring that all road users comply with the rules of the road and prioritise road safety as their own personal responsibility.
We do this through intensive enforcement and applying the ‘rule of law’ objectively and consistently. This includes enforcing good driving behaviour, and regulating the fitness of
drivers and all types of motor vehicles.
This Chief Directorate continuously embraces new methodologies, technological avenues and adaptable practices linked to the current demands of the traffic operational environment, by reviewing planning, deployment, and the execution of focus driven operations to achieve its objectives.
Ultimately, all daily efforts and initiatives reaffirm our commitment to reduce road fatalities in the Western Cape by 50% by the year 2030.

Conclusion

I have focused today on our Traffic Management directorate’s programmes, but the incredible thing about what we do in the Western Cape is how the golden thread of road
safety runs through all our Mobility Department programmes. Whether it’s Road Safety Education, Traffic Law Enforcement, Traffic Training and Development, Regulation, Sustainable and Non-Motorised Transport programmes, Scholar Transport Safety, Farmworker Transport Safety, or Freight Management… we are
working hard to make mobility safer for you.

Finally, I want to urge all road users to spare a thought for our dedicated officers in blue this Festive Season. They will be working tirelessly to ensure that everyone arrives safely
home to their loved ones.

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