Accidents due to reckless driving: Peters

By Drum Digital
10 January 2014

Major reasons for the accidents included drunk driving, speeding, reckless overtaking, driver fatigue, failure to wear seatbelts, unroadworthy vehicles, and unlicensed or illegally licensed drivers.

An analysis of the festive season's road death toll indicated that most accidents were due to irresponsible and disrespectful conduct, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said.

Major reasons for the accidents included drunk driving, speeding, reckless overtaking, driver fatigue, failure to wear seatbelts, unroadworthy vehicles, and unlicensed or illegally licensed drivers, she told reporters in Pretoria.

"May 2014 be the year that we turn the corner on road carnage and ensure that we drive with the right documents. No one will drive with what he or she thinks is the right document," she said.

"There is only one [licence] issued by the transport department. We are in control over that and if you are reckless, we are going to withdraw your driver's licence."

A total of 1 376 people were killed in 1 147 crashes on the country's roads between 1 December, 2013 and 7 January, 2014, she said, releasing the preliminary 2013/14 tally.

There were 1 558 deaths and 1 247 crashes in 2012/13.

She dismissed criticism that the release of Thursday's figures was premature.

"I am not going to respond to those who are sitting outside and barking when people are losing their lives. In fact, what we need to do is to capture [numbers] every day and notify South Africans on how many people are dying on our roads," she said.

"For me, I am not going to be bothered about what other parties are saying. We are governing South Africa on behalf of the people. Those who say we shouldn't have released the statistics, they can continue speaking, we have work to do."

She was responding to criticism by Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis. Ollis said in a statement the reporting period would end on Monday.

Thursday's release meant potential fatalities during the busy weekend, when many people returned home ahead of schools re-opening, would be excluded, he said.

-SAPA

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