Update: Action plan to curb lawlessness on the road revealed

MMC for Public Safety, councillor Michael Sun. Photo: Adéle Bloem

The Record asked the question: “Does the Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Public Safety have an answer for the lawlessness on our roads?” and he has answered.

The MMC, councillor Michael Sun, said the council has, in conjunction with the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) and the Department of Transport devised a short- to medium-term plan to assist in curbing lawlessness on our roads.

The plan deals with police visibility on main roads, increased efforts in traffic management, community involvement, educational campaigns, handling of traffic violations, and implementing a public reporting helpline.

According to the councillor, the most important part of keeping road users safe starts with the JMPD. “We will ensure a high JMPD visibility on all main roads for the purpose of traffic management and violation enforcement,” said Michael.

He also said that other factors that contribute to the way motorists drive on the roads include malfunctioning or unsynchronised traffic lights. “When this happens, it causes a lot of congestion on the roads, frustrating drivers. We will increase our efforts to ensure free-flowing traffic. This will be done in conjunction with the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) to help us take a pro-active approach to deal with these problems,” he said.

Although the Administrative Adjudication of Road Offences Act (AARTO) was intended to bring motorists who break the rules of the road to justice, it was only partially implemented, which has had a negative impact. Michael – in an effort to find a solution to better enforcement of traffic laws – has made several presentations to the transport committee, where he highlighted the challenges faced by the city in order to successfully manage traffic. “I hope that, through the engagement with national government and its agencies, we will be able to implement substantial ways to deter traffic violations,” he said.

According to Michael, the taxi industry is an integral part of the city’s public transport system as many of the working and lower income residents are dependent on taxis to get to and from work. Parts of the city’s economy are also driven by this industry. “We believe community involvement and educational campaigns are essential and will engage the public sector to improve driver behaviour as well as road safety. We subscribe to a strict approach on road safety across all drivers,” he said.

A project to enable members of the public to report bad driving and traffic violations will be announced soon. “We are also working on a Public Reporting Hotline which will call for the active participation of the public,” Michael said. This project would also enable the public to send clear photos of any bad driving or traffic violations, with a date, time and location to the JMPD, which in turn, will trace, investigate and prosecute the offender.

“We are hoping that with the public’s involvement in helping us to keep a hawk’s eye on our roads, we will be able to change the attitude of bad driver behaviour and improve the safety on our roads,” Michael said in conclusion.

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Adéle Bloem

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