More than 1 500 cars pass through N3 toll per hour as people go on holiday

2017-12-22 22:08


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Johannesburg – The carnage that the country continues to experience on the roads is caused by several factors, "mostly embedded in human behaviour and vehicle factor", Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi said on Friday.

"Road safety first and foremost, is an individual road user's responsibility. Once this notion is lost on any road user, motorists, passengers and pedestrians alike, the battle against road carnage is undermined," Maswanganyi said in a statement.

He said traffic law enforcement officers would continue to conduct more roadblocks throughout the country during the festive season and beyond "to reduce and, where possible, eliminate the risk of crashes on our roads".

READ: More than 3 000 arrested so far this December for traffic violations

"Of particular interest, our law enforcement operations will target enforcement of legislation [related to] wearing seatbelts, using cellphones while driving [and] unroadworthy vehicles, whilst they continue to clamp down on drunken driving, excessive speed and other moving violations," he said.

Maswangayi urged motorists to always observe the speed limit, wear seatbelts, ensure that passengers wear seatbelts and not to drink and drive.

"Don't use a mobile phone while driving. Before you drive a vehicle, ensure that the vehicle is properly licensed, it has a valid insurance policy and that you have the valid and appropriate licence to drive the vehicle."

Tips for pedestrians

He also warned pedestrians: "Always cross the road at designated pedestrian or zebra crossings. When crossing the road, be attentive and on the lookout for oncoming vehicles."

N3 toll spokesperson Con Roux expressed his disappointment at the number of deaths recorded on the roads since the start of the festive weekend as many make long-distance trips to their loved ones in different provinces.

Roux was referring to numerous accidents which took place in Van Reenan's Pass on the N3 route from Johannesburg to Durban - an infamous high accident route. He could not immediately confirm the specific number of deaths.

READ: Traffic officials to adopt 'no-nonsense' approach this festive season

Most of the major accidents that took place were cleared relatively quickly to avoid more traffic congestion.

"Van Reenan's is a place where you have to drive extra carefully and watch your speed. Here, motorists need to be aware that there is a difference between trucks and cars," he said.

Roux said that there was a dedicated crash management team that was working hard to clear all scenes quickly.

He told News24 that the visibility of authorities did not deter drivers from driving recklessly, particularly in rainy conditions.

Peak traffic congestion

"This is a reflection of the failure of motorists to adapt to driving challenges presented by different driving conditions, such as wet roads and peak traffic congestion," Roux said.

Road Traffic Management Corporation's Simon Zwane told News24 that, although they are watching roads leading out of Gauteng to provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and the Free State, they were also focusing on residential areas.

He said they had seen many pedestrian deaths caused by jaywalking. Some pedestrians were also drunk.

Zwane noted that there were also hit and run reports and added that the rain had also caused complications.

Johannesburg Metro Police Department's Wayne Minnaar told News24 that they had recorded more than 1 500 cars passing through towards the N3 per hour.

Minnaar reminded motorists to keep safe following distances, to switch on their headlights and to drive slowly, especially in rainy conditions.

Roux added that, although they expected heavy traffic during the day on Friday, even more was expected later on Friday evening because people start their trips after leaving work for the day.

He said they more traffic was expected when people return.

"We appeal to motorists to drive more carefully when they return during the long weekend next week as they rush back to work," he said. 

Zwane said further in-depth information would be made available on Saturday.

Read more on:    joe maswanganyi  |  traffic  |  road accidents

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