Repeat drunks lose licences

2008-01-03 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG is continuing to uphold its reputation as a city in which many seem unconcerned by the effects of drinking and driving.

But those who continue to abuse alcohol and drive are going to have their licences suspended.

In December, Pietermaritzburg accounted for 511 of the 821 drunk driving offences in the province — 62,3% — KwaZulu-Natal traffic authorities said.

The department said the drivers were caught at more than 25 roadblocks.

Six months ago, Transport MEC Bheki Cele said Pietermaritzburg has the worst drunken driving offenders.

KZN Transport Department spokeswoman Zinhle Mngomezulu said this figure is likely to soar before the end of the holiday period on January 15.

Among the offenders are young professionals, government employees, youngsters, truck and taxi drivers and women, said Mngomezulu.

She said if a person is caught more than once driving under the influence, they will have their driver’s licence suspended.

“We’ve already suspended some people … Their licences are suspended for a period of five years, after which they will have to re-apply to have a new one issued. Then they have to go to all the trouble of re-obtaining their licence,” she said.

“All we are saying is that people must act like responsible adults.”

Mngomezulu said it is a major concern that many people who are likely to lose their licences are those whose jobs require them to have one.

“Imagine not having a licence for a period of five years! Some are employed because they have a driver’s licence and this means no licence, no job,” she said.

Meanwhile, traffic swelled at midday yesterday, with 1 651 vehicles passing north through the Mariannhill toll plaza, while 1 117 jostled for position in the south-bound lanes.

Mngomezulu said at about the same time 1 248 vehicles were recorded passing the Tugela toll plaza.

The numbers are expected to remain high for a few days.

nathi@witness.co.za

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