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Cape Town launches 24/7 high-tech highway patrol

The City of Cape Town has launched a “tech-led” highway patrol unit geared with body cameras and automated number plate recognition (ANPR) dash cameras that automatically track motorists with outstanding warrants, identify duplicate or cloned licence plates, and alert officers to stolen vehicles or vehicles that have been involved in criminal acts.

The unit will be monitoring the main arterial routes of the city on a 24-hour basis – including the N2, N7, R300, and Mew Way – conducting enforcement and helping motorists in the emergency lane. 

The unit will also perform area enforcement and assist other specialist entities like the Ghost Squad where required, said the City.

“A dedicated Highway Patrol Unit is a best-case practice that is used in leading policing agencies around the world,” said the City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, Alderman JP Smith.

“As Cape Town continues to model its future policing functions in line with international standards, this unit is a welcome addition to the existing enforcement services.”

The Highway Patrol Unit comprises 25 new traffic officers, four new senior inspectors, two administrative staff members, and one principal inspector, with plans to double this capacity in the next financial year.

Cape Town is cleaning up its roads

The City of Cape Town has been on a cleaning spree of its roads over the past few months to rid it of illegal vehicles and drivers.

In August, it amended its traffic by-laws to make provisions for the impoundment of non-roadworthy cars in a wider range of situations, with a direct focus on public transport vehicles which were previously allowed to drive away with barely so much as a slap on the wrist.

In October, traffic services held a heavy-duty operation to check for unlawful vehicles, during which it made 336 stops of 220 heavy and 116 other vehicles over a 24-hour period.

In the process, the officers recorded a total of 4,624 offences.

Apart from putting pressure on unlawful motorists, the City is also improving its roads for those who are following the rules.

In May, it introduced a new traffic signal system at key intersections where private vehicles and MyCiTi bus routes overlap reducing confusion among motorists and public transport operators in these areas to avoid frequent accidents.

In July, in-road warning lights were installed at pedestrian crossings around the CBD to encourage better driver behaviour making it safer for commuters and tourists who frequent these areas by foot.

The City also announced that it will start building South Africa’s first “freestanding elevated traffic circle”  as part of the roll-out of the MyCiTi bus service to the metro-south east, which will take roughly 44 months to complete.

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