Great day out. Loads of photos. No time to edit and share this evening. More on that tomorrow and in the meantime, please enjoy this bittersweet tale from the City of Cape Town Facebook page.

A drunk driving suspect’s attempt to flee turned into a nightmare on Sunday 23 June 2019.

The suspect was stopped during a Ghost Squad operation in Eerste River, but tried to make a run for it.

He jumped over a wall, but in doing so, sustained cuts to his ribcage on the spiked wall. After landing in the backyard, the property owner thought he was trying to break into his house and proceeded to sjambok him.

Fortunately, the arresting officer intervened and the suspect was taken to the local day hospital where he received seven stitches to the wound caused by the wall spikes.

‘This is not the first suspect who attempted to make a run for it, but it is certainly one of the first who came off so badly as a result. What would have been a straightforward drunk driving case has now turned into resisting arrest, but also a possible trespassing charge, if the property owner decides to pursue the matter. This is not to mention the physical impact of the attempted getaway. I commend the officer who didn’t give up and saved the suspect from the potential consequences of being mistaken for an intruder,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

All very amusing, and then the bit where they remind you who you’re sharing the road with:

The 27-year-old suspect from Bellville was one of 11 arrests for driving under the influence during the operation. The highest breathalyzer reading was 2.0 mg/L, which is more than eight times over the legal limit.

The tide is turning on the practice of drink driving in SA, but it’s painfully slow and we’re still years and years away from the watershed moment when it becomes unacceptable to get behind the wheel of a car when you’re pissed. (Or even a bit tipsy.)

Until that time, you just have to hope that no-one being an utter twat after seventeen beers wipes you and your family out while you’re behaving responsibly.


News from the Isle of Man of a 68-year-old Ramsey woman in court over a potential drink driving related offence. Let’s get up to speed with the preamble and then we can move onto the good bits:

Her grey Mitsubishi Colt was spotted heading along North Shore Road, Bowring Road, Station Road and on Shoprite car park at around 4.30pm. Its progress was described as ‘erratic’ and ‘all over the road’. When she tried to park, she ended up only half in a disabled space with the back end of her car sticking out. Inside the shop, she was visibly unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred. Police found her sitting in the driver’s seat of her car.

It’s not looking good for Anna Fratanu (for it are she wot was in charge of the vehicle) thus far. But she said that she hadn’t been drinking, so what on earth could have been causing her erratic driving then?

  1. She blamed a fault with her car’s clutch which meant stopping and starting was difficult.
  2. She was taking medication for vertigo.
  3. She was not wearing her glasses, and
  4. She said her driving was no different from usual.

The coppers were having none of it though, and asked for a breath test.
But ‘soz, no can do’ says Anna, because:

  1. She had no time to spare as she was preparing a picnic, and
  2. She claimed the recent Botox treatment meant she could not purse her lips.

Sadly for Anna, Magistrates’ chairman Julian Ashcroft was unimpressed by her numerous sob stories. He fined her £1000 and ordered her to pay £300 costs. She was also banned from driving for five years and must pass an extended driving test at the end of the ban. She must also attend a drink drivers’ alcohol rehabilitation course before being allowed to drive again.

Chris Moerdyk’s list of selfish bastards includes Chris Moerdyk

Chris Moerdyk has finally had it with the selfish bastards who don’t pay their taxes and cut red lights and talk on their cellphones while driving and get behind the wheel after one too many.

And that includes him:

But then, it suddenly dawned on me that if Colin didn’t pay his taxes, government would hardly just say “oh, well we have just made a bit of a loss, let’s take it on the chin and move on.”  What government would most certainly say is: “OK, now where can we make up that shortfall?”
And they would simply get more tax from those poor sods, who unlike Colin, have PAYE deducted from their pay-packets and don’t have the choice of paying or not paying their taxes.

So, I thought “Colin, you selfish bastard.”

I spent another hour pacing up and down my study thinking about all the other selfish bastards there were whose actions cause, or could cause, innocent people so much grief and trauma.

Then it occurred to be that I am also a selfish bastard.

But, I am going to stop.

I really don’t want anyone to be able to point at me and call me a selfish bastard for killing their child/uncle/wife/grandfather/dog. That’s the sort of thing that ruins your life forever. And all for the sake on a drink or a cellphone conversation. Logic tells me it’s actually not worth it. I have also just discovered by the way, that non-alcoholic cocktails actually taste exactly the same as those with alcohol in them.
The only difference is one doesn’t turn you into a selfish bastard.

Wise words indeed, and it stuck me that Chris’ epiphany was probably prompted by a quick read of this post from last week.

I applaud him for his bold stance but note that 90% of the comments are based on the dangers of drink driving, despite the fact we have been told that cell use “is probably six times more dangerous than driving drunk”.

That message is still not getting through. That social stigma is still not there.
There are still too many selfish bastards out there, although according to Chris, there’s one fewer now.

Don’t you hate those last line “less/fewer” issues?

Cell use ‘worse than driving drunk’

Interesting quote from Gary Ronald of the AA in the Cape Times this morning:

Driver distraction is probably six times more dangerous than driving drunk. If a driver over the legal alcohol limit of 0.05 already has the potential risk of being involved in a crash 15 times more than a sober person, the context of distraction is even more frightening.

I’m all for any measure that improves road safety in SA. But it worries me that Gary seems to be spouting figures for the sake of figure spouting: “probably six times more dangerous than driving drunk”? Well, maybe it is, but why chuck the word “probably” in?
Does this figure that you are spouting come from any sort of research or did you just make it up? And if it came from some sort of research, what sort of result is “probably six times more dangerous than driving drunk”?
When I do science, I don’t come up with results like that. I either say yes or no. And if I’m ever tempted to stray towards a “probably”, then I go away and I do some more research until I can say yes or no.
That’s how it works.

People see that sort of quote and they think “He’s just made that up, hasn’t he?”.
The obvious next step is not to take what Gary is saying seriously and then what most individuals will do is refute all stats on cellphone usage while driving as being nonsense, which in itself is also nonsense, but that is what will happen.

And it spoils what is a very important message: that using your cellphone while you are driving is a dangerous thing to do.
That’s why it’s illegal.

But then, so is driving without a seatbelt and so is drinking and driving and so is speeding and so is going through a red light.
Sadly, here in SA, there is a real issue with people’s attitudes to obeying rules and a real issue with any sort of law enforcement on the roads.
Every day, I see tens of people driving while using cellphones. There’s the usual two versions of the talkers: one doing 130kph without really looking where he’s going, and the other one who unknowingly slows down to 30kph and may weave slightly.
Then there’s the texters (although it could also be social media or email, of course). There are also two types of them: the ones who hold the phone up right in front of their field of vision, resting it on the top of the steering wheel, and the ones who have it down on their lap, text, look up, look down, text some more, look up, look down, text some more etc etc etc. Each of these four approaches demonstrates a clear lack of concentration on the road around them. Each is dangerous and illegal.

Funny thing is, most of those people would probably baulk at the suggestion that they would ever drive drunk and yet they happily use their phone while on the road, which “is probably six times more dangerous than driving drunk”. Why?
Is it because they don’t know how dangerous it is?
Is it because they know and don’t care?
Is it because they don’t think they’ll get caught?

The spokesman for Cape Town Traffic Services, Kevin Jacobs, said 4 184 drivers in six months had been fined for the unlawful use of a cellphone while driving.

4,200 in 6 months. That’s 700 a month. Or 24 a day. 1 an hour.
In a city with 3,000,000+ inhabitants. It’s a drop in the ocean.

The war on drink driving in SA has proved that it takes a combination of stricter law enforcement and powerful advertising to even begin to get the message across to a public which is used to getting away with breaking rules. For the first time since moving here, I am beginning to notice a shift in attitude amongst my friends when it comes to drink driving. It used to be that they’d know it was wrong, but that they take the chance of getting away with it. Now there’s more of a social stigma attached to it (like in the UK) and there’s more awareness about getting caught and the consequences that come with it, people don’t do it any more.

How long before using your cellphone while driving (which, lest we forget, “is probably six times more dangerous than driving drunk”) generates that same sort of reaction?

A year? Ten years? Never?