Plans to declare traffic law enforcement an essential service, and thereby enable a 24-hour working schedule for traffic officers, was a positive development which should be welcomed by all motorists in South Africa.

That’s the view of the Automobile Association (AA) which was commenting on a statement put to Parliament last month by the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, during his budget vote.

Maswanganyi outlined a two-fold approach to ensure the availability of traffic officers on a 24/7 basis, suggesting that the number of law enforcers on public roads should be increased and that traffic law enforcement should be declared an essential service.

“This is a hugely positive step, and is encouraging in light of the country’s high road fatality statistics. According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s (RTMC), about 55% of crashes occur between 6pm and 6am, when, traditionally, there has been limited coverage by traffic officials.

“Having traffic officers on duty during this time may lead to positive results, and we welcome the move as a first step to dealing with the carnage on our roads,” the AA noted.

Apart from more traffic officers and extended working hours, the AA said it was important for the DoT to educate drivers on the need for compliance regarding traffic laws, since without public understanding, disregarding for laws would continue.

The Association also welcomed the Minister’s remarks that his department would focus on maintaining provincial and national road networks, and improving public transport for rail and road commuters.