Road death toll reaches 448

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pretoria - The national road death toll has reached a shocking 448 over the last two weeks.

The Department of Transport said 335 fatal accidents had occurred between 1 December and 16 December. The victims included 126 drivers, 184 passengers and 134 pedestrians.

The most recent accident occurred on Thursday morning, where seven people were killed in a collision between a bakkie and a truck on the N2 near Nyoni in KwaZulu-Natal.

The accident was the second horrific road crash involving a bakkie in just two days in KwaZulu-Natal.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has since warned that law enforcement on bakkies transporting passengers will be intensified.

"Bakkies were never primarily designed for the conveyance of passengers; we have called upon law enforcement officials to intensify enforcement on bakkies carrying passengers," he said.

He said bus and taxi operators should ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy and not place profit above the lives of innocent commuters.

The department conveyed its condolences to those killed in road accidents since the start of the festive season and wished those injured a speedy recovery.

Ndebele also commended the arrests of more than 2 000 drunk drivers since 1 December.

The arrests were part of the department's Festive Season Arrive Alive Road Safety campaign.
Of the 2 000 drivers arrested for drinking and driving, more than 500 were arrested in the Eastern Cape alone and a further 320 in KwaZulu-Natal.

"We welcome the arrests and expect more arrests in the coming days as traffic volumes increase and traffic law enforcement is stepped up, when we say zero tolerance for all traffic offences, we mean just that," warned Ndebele.