KZN has highest amount of road deaths during festive season so far

2014-12-31 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL had the highest number of deaths so far this festive ­season.

Eighty percent of crashes took place in residential or “built-up” areas around the country.

The latest statistics, covering the period between December 1 and December 23, were released at a press conference held by national Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and six transport MECs, including KZN’s Willies Mchunu, in Durban yesterday.

This year, 249 people were killed on KZN roads in 211 fatal road accidents.

Gauteng followed with 174 deaths in 156 crashes and Limpopo with 138 deaths in 106 crashes.

The statistics revealed a decrease in the number of fatal crashes around the country over the same period last year.

Overall this year there were 924 accidents with 1 143 fatalities, compared to 974 accidents and 1 168 fatalities last year.

Peters said efforts by transport officials to monitor national roads could have contributed to fewer fatal crashes this year.

She said 31% of accidents took place between 10 pm and 6 am.

“Eighty percent of fatal road crashes take place in residential or built-up areas. These accidents could easily be avoided had we celebrated and behaved in a responsible way,” she said.

With the number of pedestrians killed in accidents a growing concern, Peters said that the transport ministry was to work with tavern owners and liquor outlets to gain their support in reducing the number of road accidents and keeping their patrons safe.

This year 99 060 summons were ­issued for exceeding the speed limit. There were 415 arrests for excessive speeding and the highest recorded speed was 265 km/h.

In addition, 904 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of ­alcohol.

“Only fools and idiots drink and drive, speed, don’t buckle up, drive recklessly, do not use child restraints, drink and walk and use cellphones while driving,” Peters said.

Road Traffic Management Corporation board chairperson Zola Majavu said that light motor vehicles were involved in most accidents.

The second highest involved ­pedestrians, followed by light delivery vehicles, minibus taxis and heavy vehicles, respectively.

Peters said that the department was going to work with the justice department to ensure that errant drivers were punished accordingly.

“There are too many who think that traffic violations are just by the way. We have to strengthen our laws and make sure that the law bites,” she said.

Next year, the Department of Transport is looking to employ 1 300 more traffic officials to monitor South African roads and Peter said they are working on ­24-hour traffic monitoring.

• kyle.venktess@witness.co.za

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