4 dead, 14 hurt in minibus accident

2012-12-31 15:34

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Four people have died and 14, including a baby, were injured when a minibus overturned near Heidelberg, Gauteng, paramedics said.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Santi Steinmann said today three people were left critically injured, three sustained serious injuries and the rest sustained moderate to minor injuries when the minibus overturned on the N2 around 5am.

The critically injured baby was airlifted to hospital. The cause of the accident was not yet known.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation said yesterday traffic volumes on freeways are expected to rise this week, when people travel back home from their holidays.

“Traffic volumes are expected to be on the rise with major peaks expected from Wednesday onwards as holiday makers are travelling back home,” said spokesman Ashref Ismail.

He said traffic peak was 1 300 vehicles per hour on the N3 in the direction Durban and Johannesburg. On the N1 between Polokwane and Pretoria a maximum of 1 400 vehicles per hour was recorded.

On the N4 traffic volumes were less than a thousand vehicles per hour. The N1 direction Bloemfontein also recorded under a thousand vehicles per hour.

Ismail said there had not been any major crash in the past 72 hours. “We hope it remains like that.”

The department of transport said over 2 000 drivers had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol since the beginning of December.

“These are people who deliberately ignore the dangers associated with driving under the influence of alcohol and go on to endanger the lives of other road users.

“Many other moving violations such as dangerous overtaking and excessive speeding at times have alcohol abuse as a common denominator,” said Transport Minister Dikobe Ben Martins.

He said drinking and walking (jay walking) by pedestrians was also another major problem that required urgent attention.

“At least 40

%of road fatalities recorded annually in SA involve people walking on foot.”

He said traffic officers would pay special attention to people driving under the influence of alcohol, excessive speeding, dangerous overtaking and other moving violations.

“We have issued an instruction to our law enforcement officers to arrest and detain any person found to have committed any of the above violations that all have one common consequence – death. No person who takes alcohol in excess and still drives, deserves to be on our roads. Such people should be taken away to a place where their barbaric deeds won’t endanger the lives of other law-abiding citizens,” he said.

He said drivers found guilty in a court of law of drinking and driving, excessive speeding and reckless or negligent driving would be subjected to a re-test of both their learners and drivers’ licences to ensure competence, compliance and rehabilitation if they wished to continue driving.

“We wish to remind road users that a traffic violation is an act of criminality and a person can be charged, prosecuted and convicted for breaking the rules of the road.

“We have precedence in this regard where people are currently doing time or being pursued by the law for traffic violations, particularly in instances wherein their irresponsible actions have had fatal consequences.”

He urged motorists to exercise extreme caution, travel with lights on during the day, adhere to all set speed limits, observe safe following distances and to take sufficient rest-stops.

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