Drunk driving the main cause of road accidents this festive season

Accident scene. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
Accident scene. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

The Department of Transport is putting its foot down after festive season figures showed that there was an increase in the number of incidents of drunk driving over the holidays.

While drunk driving was the main cause of road accidents, other prevalent violations on the roads included excessive speeding and reckless and negligent driving. 

To curb the number of road fatalities, the department stepped up law enforcement operations and increased its public safety campaigns.

READ: Festive season death toll already up 16% on last year 

Department spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi added that there were many incidents involving fatigued motorists and said that unroadworthy vehicles caused "lethal" problems, especially during long distance travel.

"Specific interventions going forward will include amongst others, the intensification of law enforcement operations on key travelling dates with a specific focus on speeding, drunk driving and the wearing of seat belts," Mnisi said. 

Mnisi also said Transport Minister Blade Nzimande would engage with the Department of Justice and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to ensure that serious cases were expedited. 

"In the long term, the minister will also be having an engagement with the Minister of Trade and Industry to review the trading hours of taverns and restaurants where liquor is sold," said Mnisi. 

In December last year, during a mid-festive season preliminary road safety report briefing, Nzimande said road deaths had increased by 16% between December 1 and 18, compared to the same period in 2017.

The department is expected to give an update later this week on festive season road accidents.

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