200 killed on roads over Easter

2011-04-28 14:23

More than 200 people were killed in road accidents during the Easter weekend, according to preliminary figures released by The Road Traffic Management Corporation today.

“This period was characterised by heavy traffic volumes along all major arterial routes,” the corporation said.

“The national preliminary death toll for this past Easter weekend stands at 203.”

KwaZulu-Natal with 43 deaths had the highest number of fatalities. It was followed by Gauteng with 32; Limpopo, 30; Mpumalanga, 29; Eastern Cape, 25; Free State, 17; North West, 11; Northern Cape, 9; and Western Cape, 7.

The corporation said it had investigated three major crashes, where more than five people had died or more than three vehicles were involved.

In the first, 12 people died in a head-on collision between two minibuses in the early hours of April 22 on the N4, near Ngodwana in Mpumalanga.

In the second, another eight people, of which five were children, died early on Monday morning when a bakkie carrying nine passengers was struck by a car on the N9, near Rouxville in the Free State.

In the third, two people died and two were seriously injured in a crash involving a truck, a minibus taxi and two sedans between Theunissen and Brandfort on Monday in the Free State.

The corporation said initial investigations found accidents were caused by speeding, especially at night and in bad weather, vehicle fitness, particularly tyre failure and defective brakes and dangerous driving such as barrier line and red-light infringements.

Talking and texting on cellphones while driving were also causing accidents, as was poor visibility, drinking and walking, jaywalking and walking on freeways.

“It is sad to mention that there are still many, particularly, rear seat occupants who travel without buckling up,” the corporation said.

More than 7.5 million vehicles were stopped and checked nationwide, 3.2 million notices issued for a variety of offences, 12 344 drunken drivers arrested and more than 30 824 unroadworthy vehicles discontinued from October 2010 to March 2011, the corporation said.

From Monday, April 18, to Monday, 25 April, 1 016 motorists were arrested nationally for drinking and driving, reckless and negligent driving and fraudulent public passenger transport documentation.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union said it was “extremely concerned” about the toll and called for the government to put more money into road maintenance.

“This is a wakeup call for government to put more money in road maintenance,” the union said.

“Surely taxes accumulated from the ever-increasing petrol price should be earmarked for road maintenance and improvements.”

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