Drunk driving blamed as crash kills 5

2015-06-02 10:55

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ALCOHOL abuse is alleged to be the reason behind the death of five people in a car crash in Vryheid on Sunday night.

A bakkie was taking 13 people from a wedding in Vryheid, travelling to Nongoma on the R618, when the ­accident happened.

It is alleged an argument began between a front-seat occupant and the driver, which resulted in the driver of the vehicle losing control, causing it to veer off the road, and flinging the passengers from the bakkie.

The Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liason said five people died on scene, with nine critically injured.

The injured were taken to the local hospital.

The driver was arrested after he tested positive for alcohol consumption.

Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said the driver’s alcohol intake was “way beyond” the legal breath ­alcohol content limit of 0,24 mg per 1 000 ml or a blood alcohol limit of 0,05g per 100 ml.

Reacting to the news of this tragic accident, MEC Willies Mchunu expressed disappointment that people had to lose their lives in an “avoidable circumstance” because of the alleged argument and drunk driving.

“This accident is a classic example of the scale of the damage drinking and driving is causing in our society and in road fatalities. Once again this accident was as a result of negligence on the part of the driver and his occupants,” ­Mchunu said.

“We will not tire on our call for all road users to take personal and ­collective responsibility for their safety on the road by complying with safety standards and avoid overloading. We welcome the arrest of the driver who was found to have taken alcohol, and will await the findings of the accident investigation.”

South Africans Against Drunk ­Driving founder Caro Smit called for more alcohol testing to be done on the province’s roads. “SADD are extremely disturbed that yet another preventable [drunk driving] crash happened in our province, with the resultant high death and injury toll,” Smit said.

“We ask that MEC Mchunu gets more alcohol testing done … and that he works together with Department of Justice to ensure that [drunk driving] is seen as the serious crime it is.”

According to Smit, the World Health Organisation scored South Africa a poor two out of 10 for alcohol enforcement in 2013

Read more on:    car crash  |  accident

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