Have you ever driven past a billboard along the national roads which read #BoozeFreeRoads? Well, this topic has raised a heated debate and is sure to stir once again.
In preceding months, an anti-drunk driving campaign video by the Western Cape Government caused uproar in society. Safely Home produced a television advertisement highlighting the dangers of drinking and driving. However, the video clip featuring a group of ‘gangsters’ in Hanover Park who are drinking beer and playing dominoes was seen as a coloured stereotype. In fact, many referred to the clip as an “insult”.
According to IOL, Siphesihle Dube, spokesperson for the Western Cape transport and public works MEC, Donald Grant mentioned the importance of the message trying to be conveyed. Dube saw no fault in this advertisement, claiming that it was in fact “welcomed” by Hanover Park residents.
Despite partial public negativity surrounding this initiative, the pilot phase of the random breath testing (RBT) project targeted specifically at drunk driving has been launched in the Overberg area.
The RBT was spoken of as a joint initiative of the national, provincial, and local governments. It is partnered with the South African Police Services, the Provincial Traffic Services and the Road Traffic Management Corporation among others.
“As road crashes and fatalities continue to devastate lives and to impact negatively on the socio-economic development of the Western Cape, we have continued to do all we can to tackle the main causes of injuries and fatalities”, Donald Grant said.
According to SAgov, the RBT model is based on those used successfully around the world. In states within Australia, there was a 20 percent reduction in alcohol-related traffic injuries within two years of implementing RBT operations.
How it works:
Breath testing teams in distinctive RBT uniforms will be conducting rapid, lightweight, Vehicle Check Points at multiple locations in a single shift.
“Random” refers to the Vehicle Check Points that will be used, which are locations selected randomly but covering the entire operational area.
Handheld breathalyser devices will then be used to screen motorists for alcohol.
The testing teams will operate day and night, on a shift basis covering any day of the week.
RBT operations will be over and above normal traffic law enforcement activities.
Grant adds, “As RBT is rolled out in the coming months, we believe that it will have a positive impact on behaviour on our roads, and that more and more people will make the life-saving decision not to drink and drive.”
The RBT launches in the City of Cape Town on the 14th July.