High-tech cameras to snap speeders

COUNTING: Bheki Cele. Pic. Siyabonga Mosunkutu. 5/1/06. © Sowetan
COUNTING: Bheki Cele. Pic. Siyabonga Mosunkutu. 5/1/06. © Sowetan

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The number of people who have died in crashes on KwaZulu- Natal roads in the past 12 months has decreased by 126 - from 2152 last year to 2026 this year.

Fatal crashes decreased by 158, from 1848 last year to 1690 this year.

The statistics were revealed yesterday by the province's MEC for transport, community safety and liaison, Bheki Cele.

Unveiling the province's festive season safety plan on the freeway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, at Cato Ridge, Cele said road crashes and fatalities continued to be a huge burden on the country's economy.

"Road crashes of appalling horror occur almost every day and the country loses about R43 billion a year.

"We know about it and we also know that we need a greater sense of responsibility - nobody benefits from this situation," he said.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, about 14000 people die and close to 150000 are injured on South African roads every year.

And 67,5percent of drivers, 33,3percent of front-seat passengers and 93,2percent of back-seat passengers do not wear a seatbelt.

Cele said road accidents were one of the major causes of South Africa losing talented people in the arts and business.

He said speeders would be caught with cameras that incorporated a new advanced technology that would detect speeding at a greater distance than the current equipment.

The system is widely used in Britain.

Cele said the system would replace officer-operated cameras.

A spokesman for the KwaZulu-Natal roads traffic inspectorate, John Schnell, said the new system was on trial.

"It's a multiple equipment system that will cover all lanes on our national roads.

"It can also help in tracking down stolen vehicles," he said.