Media statement by KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mr Willies Mchunu on the name and shame pilot project launched
23 Feb 2011
Allow me to extend a special word of gratitude to all of you for having honoured our invitation to this media briefing. This briefing is platform to offer us an opportunity to share some of our initiatives that seek to ensure that breaking road laws is portrayed as a big deal in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Most importantly, we believe your partnership in this mission is imperative to change the mindset of our people. You will remember that when we launched our October Transport Month last year at the Warwick Junction, I indicated to all present that this campaign will be next on our cards and all offenders will have their full names published in our newspapers.
Today ladies and gentlemen of the media I wish to indicate that the naming and shaming of drinking and driving offenders has officially begun. In fact as government we are readying ourselves not only to make this costly tendency to use the road irresponsibly unfashionable and outmoded, but it is our priority to continue to force road-users to worry about not breaking traffic laws more than they do now.
It is clear to us as government that the violation of traffic laws is still not taken seriously, for instance, people worry more about getting caught speeding or drinking and driving rather than the other more fatal consequences of committing these crimes. To that effect, as government we are encouraged by the support we receive through public-private partnerships that help improve our people’s quality of life.
We know that alcohol abuse is one of the major problems on our roads. It is quite appropriate therefore that over the past two years the South African Breweries (SAB) as producers of alcoholic beverages have been proactive about collaborating with provincial government in bringing road offenders to book.
The increasing number of alcohol evidence centres that SAB has sponsored in our province is adequate proof that we are on the right track to tackle deviant conduct that costs us so dearly in terms of irreplaceable human life and valuable property.
Millions of Rand are wasted on healthcare due to so vile a thing as drunkenness which impairs concentration and reaction time and leads to countless collisions on our roads.
As a new initiative, we have now forged a partnership with non-governmental organisation (NGO) known as the South Africans Against Drunk Drivers (SADD) to introduce the ‘Name and Shame’ campaign. Here we are hoping to decrease our unacceptably high number of deaths and injuries caused by drivers who drink. We have found that one thing that stops people from driving under the influence of alcohol is that they are afraid of the legal, social and financial repercussions of their actions .That is getting tested often, being fined a lot, automatically losing their drivers’ licence, going to jail if they kill or severely injure someone, and being named so your employer, friends and family know you have committed a criminal offence.
The “Name and Shame” campaign shows people that driving licences are being removed, people are being jailed, and large fines are being given. It also serves as an example to magistrates that drunk driving is a serious matter, and encourages them to increase their fines, as per the Amendment of Fines Act that recommends fines of up to R120,000 and automatic removal of licences.
The “units of alcohol”, blood and breath alcohol concentrations and “understanding drink driving chart” is displayed to educate people about the strengths of alcohol, and the elimination rates so that they can be more responsible in future.
More than 50 drivers during each publication would suffer exposure and humiliation, and this may also enable their superiors to know that they are driving company vehicle whilst under the influence.
We believe that as our people become familiar with these consequences they will change their behaviour and stop drunk driving.
People need to know that alcohol is eliminated at a very slow rate. Elimination rate is one unit per hour maximum .The only thing that removes alcohol is time. For instance, a man who is driving with a breath alcohol level of 1.05 mg, meaning he has about 10 brandies in his body, will only be sober in 10 hours time.
It is highly unacceptable that in this province from 1 to 31 December 2010 we arrested 416 drivers who were caught for drunk driving. From 1 to 31 January 2011 we had arrested 215 drivers for drunk driving.
Today ladies and gentlemen, we call upon all our media houses to come on board and ensure that we clean up our roads. We know that a few publications have partnered with us in this initiative and we thank them for that. But like I have said, let us all be partners. Let us remember that this year 2011 marks the beginning of a “Decade of Activism for Road Safety”, as the whole world endeavours to curb road deaths drastically between 2011 and 2020 in line with the United Nationas (UNs) proclamation in March last year.
I thank you
Source: KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Transport
23 Feb 2011
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