A new camera system on the infamous “death stretch” on the N1 near Beaufort West could take the festive cheer out of the 3000 drivers caught speeding so far.

A new camera system on the infamous “death stretch” on the N1 near Beaufort West could take the festive cheer out of the 3000 drivers caught speeding so far.

The Western Cape traffic department’s new three-camera system has trapped 3033 motorists. This device uses two digital cameras to photograph the front and rear of the vehicle while a video camera documents the entire incident. The device has been operational since December 12.

Drivers caught driving between 120km/h and 170km/h on camera will have to pay between R200 and R2 500. They will receive notifications in the mail within 30 days. Those caught exceeding 170km/h will be arrested and their fate will be decided in court.

Brian Phillips, provincial traffic spokesperson, said that with the increased traffic volumes the number of motorists being trapped was not surprising and curbing traffic speed was essential to keep fatalities down this year.

However, people were not heeding warnings. In some cases, motorists had been caught speeding early on their journey and then, 50km later, they were pulled over again, Phillips said.

Other measures to curb speeding included increased visibility of traffic officers on the roads. Compulsory 24-hour stops were also set up at Touws River, Leeu Gamka, Aberdeen and Beaufort West. Drivers who were pulled over and found to be tired were compelled to stop and rest before continuing their journey.

Meanwhile, despite the possible success of the new speed cameras, the death toll from traffic accidents has risen dramatically. At least 30 people were killed and 30 injured around the country since the start of the weekend.

In one incident, outside Polokwane in Limpopo, four people burnt to death after a police vehicle rammed into the back of their car at a stop street on Sunday. Both the car and its occupants were burnt beyond recognition.