Eighty die in KZN holiday traffic

2010-12-27 00:00

EIGHTY people died in 196 accidents on KwaZulu-Natal’s roads between December 1 and Christmas Day, the provincial road traffic inspectorate said yesterday.

In another alarming statistic, 2 864 motorists were caught for driving without licences and 854 vehicles were suspended for being unroadworthy.

At Park Rynie on the south coast a taxi driver was arrested for drunk driving on Christmas Day after he was allegedly found 10 times over the legal limit.

Provincial RTI spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said the driver was travelling with 14 passengers in the Toyota Quantum minibus when he was stopped on the N2 and failed a breathalyser test.

As the holder of a professional driver’s licence, the legal limit in his case is 0,10 mg per 1 000 ml of breath.

The driver’s breath-alcohol content was found to be 1,04 mg per 1 000 ml of breath, Mngomezulu said.

The vehicle was impounded and only released when the owner sent a sober driver to collect the minibus, she added.

Traffic police in the same area charged a motorist for speeding at 210 kph in a 120 kph zone — the highest speed recorded over the Christmas period.

Mngomezulu said that during the 25-day period ending on Christmas Day, officials had stopped and checked a total of 238 320 vehicles.

Arising from these checks, 36 485 drivers were charged with a variety of offences.

“The fact that 322 drivers were arrested for drinking and driving is an indication that people still do not want to listen and comply with the law,” said Mngomezulu.

Each of the drunk drivers had the potential to cause accidents and posed a grave danger to other road users, she said.

Mngomezulu said 693 motorists were charged for failing to renew their vehicle licences.

This means that occupants of these vehicles cannot claim from the Road Accident Fund if they are involved in crashes.

Meanwhile, holidaymakers continue to pour into Durban and coastal areas ahead of the New Year, as revealed by the high volumes of traffic experienced on the N3 yesterday.

Mngomezulu said around 1 800 vehicles passed through the Mariannhill toll plaza at 11 am yesterday travelling south towards Durban and the coast. About 1 100 vehicles were travelling on the northbound section of the highway.

Mngomezulu added that the N3 was “very quiet” on Christmas Day with an average of 500 to 600 vehicles passing through the same toll.

The most serious accident in KZN over the Christmas weekend occurred on the P291 at Nquthu near Babanango, where a 50-year-old female taxi driver lost control of her minibus and was flung out as the vehicle overturned.

She was killed and the 14 passengers all sustained serious injuries.

Mngomezulu said traffic flowed smoothly through the Chota Motala interchange under construction on the N3 in Pietermaritzburg. “There was not even a fender bender reported there over the holidays and we thank the public for their co-operation,” she said.

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