Drunk drivers welcome New Year behind bars

2015-01-02 00:00

MANY drivers welcomed 2015 from the slits between the bars in their holding cells.

And the many more who opted to stay safe, kept the Pietermaritzburg taxi cab industry extremely busy.

Over 200 drunk drivers were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal from December 1 to December 31, with many of the drivers arrested on New Year’s Eve.

Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said yesterday that the 26 RTI stations across the province reported a massive 233 drunk driving arrests at the close of 2014.

She said the Port Shepstone station tallied multiple arrests in a single road block on New Year’s Eve.

“The Port Shepstone station reported 14 drunk drivers arrested at a single road block in just over two hours,” said Mngomezulu.

“One driver hit 1,18 mg on the alcometer [breathalyser], which is six times the legal limit.”

Mngomezulu said they were arrested and spent their New Year in holding cells in Port Shepstone.

“There are too many drunk drivers, especially during this period,” she said.

“I have warned people not to drink and drive, but I keep arresting them because they keep drinking.”

She added that the RTI had road-blocks planned for Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas, but the heavy rain had prevented them.

“We patrolled the area instead of setting up a roadblock because of the rain.”

Mngomezulu said Pietermaritzburg made no arrests for drunk driving over New Year and was happy to see people had been obeying the laws of the road.

Pietermaritzburg party-goers appeared to have opted for taxi cabs, deciding to stay on the right side of the law.

Mohamed Taxi co-owner Tasneem Mea said her taxi service was so busy over New Year that the drivers hardly had time to take a breath.

“We were extremely busy and there was no time for any of the drivers to take a break,” she said.

“At no time did you find a driver sitting and waiting to be called. They were busy from 8 pm right through to 6 am.”

Metro Taxi owner Junaid Sayed said this year was just as busy as the last and they were fully prepared for all the calls they received.

“None of our cars were parked off and waiting. Our drivers worked non-stop.

“We were busy from 7 pm through to 5 am [yesterday] morning transporting people who had a bit too much to drink,” he said.

Sayed added that he and the drivers looked forward to this time of year as the customers were always in a festive mood and never failed to amuse and laugh with the drivers.

“It’s all good, clean fun,” he chuckled.

Wilken’s Taxi manager Raj Ram said the volume of people calling for taxis was “hectic”.

“We were so busy and we moved the whole 12 hours,” said Ram.

He added that this was the busiest time of the year for taxi services.

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