Speed enforcement versus visible traffic enforcement
12 03 2007
28km south of Hanover10km south of Hanover30km north of Hanover on N1
On my return from my Dad’s funeral in Oudtshoorn [well known for the Cango Caves], I decided to do a thorough analysis of traffic enforcement on the 740km stretch of road from Oudtshoorn to Bloemfontein. I might admit that I also had a desire to find where the speed enforcers are positioned - having previously received 4 speeding tickets on this route.
I was absolutely stunned to find 3 traffic officers behind state of the art speed enforcement equipment on a 62km stretch of road to the south and north of the small town of Hanover - and I am convinced that this is a mere revenue generating exercise. The road is not close to houses or schools and there is ample visibility - the road is in perfect condition with a nice space of shoulder to both sides of the yellow line. I believe this statement would be proved correct if the budget of the Hanover municipality can be revealed along with the accident statistics for this specific stretch of road. I must admit that I was disappointed on this excessive focus on speeding and lack of focus on other aspects such as road-worthiness, seat belt wearing rates etc
I stopped, turned around and approached the traffic officers. I introduced myself as the developer of the Arrive Alive website and asked permission to take a photograph of them and their equipment. The traffic officers were very friendly and even showed me how the “camera” caught traffic offenders.
I also have to admit the pleasant surprise with regards to visibility of enforcement from Hanover to Bloemfontein. In total on the 740 km stretch of road I came across 4 speed cameras, 4 stationary traffic vehicles and 6 moving traffic vehicles. This was more than I had expected. A special word of recognition should go to the traffic officer who slowed down and stopped to assist a stationary truck with an emergency triangle placed on the road. Another traffic officer stopped a truck on the road between Colesberg and Bloemfontein and I was rather impressed by this officer not merely relaxing below some of the overhead bridges like some of his colleagues…
I have been disappointed not to have been stopped on this long stretch of road. The outcome of my analysis is that I could have driven to Bloemfontein with the possibility of receiving 4 speeding tickets in the post. I could however ALSO have driven 740km without a license, in an non roadworthy vehicle, not wearing a seat belt and whilst being under the influence of alcohol. These are unfortunately things that are bigger dangers to road safety than speeding - and these can only be picked up at a road block!
Road safety in South Africa requires visible traffic enforcement - but even more important - EFFECTIVE visible traffic enforcement. I hope that the focus will in future move away from speeding tickets - and focus on other more important issues.
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