Accidents: ‘ban booze’

2012-12-29 00:00

DEPUTY Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga has called for an outright ban on any form of drinking and driving, saying that if it were up to her, no motorist would get behind the steering wheel after taking even a sip of alcohol.

She was speaking to Weekend Witness yesterday during a visit to the Durban beachfront with a contingent of government officials.

She joined traffic officers and police in interacting with motorists and people on holiday, to urge them to drive safely.

Chikunga revealed her stance, along with a planned national dialogue on road safety and drunk driving, which is in the pipeline and is being spearheaded by Transport Minister Ben Martin.

She said the trip was motivated by accidents that had wiped out families, and figured it would be a wise move to talk to people travelling between the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays.

“It’s important to put in more effort around this time of the year because that is when most accidents happen …

“The reality is that people have died. We have two people dying ­every hour based on the statistics.”

Explaining her call for an outright ban on alcohol before driving, she said: “It makes sense. There should be no alcohol at all in your system if you are going to drive. That is something we should seriously consider.

“However, it’s not just alcohol; there is also drug abuse and people are aggressive on our roads and lack patience and they end up crashing.”

Ashref Ismail, spokesperson for the Road Traffic Management Corporation, said that more than 1 000 people had died in crashes nationwide since the beginning of December.

He said the main causes of the accidents were speeding, drunk driving, drinking and walking, and fatigue.

“Motorists must look out for unsteady or staggering pedestrians who might be under the influence of alcohol.

“They must have their headlamps on so they are visible to other road users, especially pedestrians,” said Ismail.

The final holiday death toll will be tallied at the end of the RTMC’s Arrive Alive campaign on January 13.

• ayanda.mdluli@witness.co.za

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