Deadly car crashes dampen Easter spirit

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Copy of ST BloemAccident1 INLSA An emergency worker walks past the scene of a collision between a Toyota Fortuner and a truck outside Bloemfontein at the weekend. Seven people died in the accident. Photo: ER24

 

Johannesburg - With the Easter weekend death toll figures set to be announced by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters this week, 24 people had been reported killed by Saturday.

By Sunday, the death toll had risen above 30.

Thirty-four people sustained injuries in several accidents.

It is likely to be a fraction of the final death toll. Last year, the Easter death toll stood at 241, up from 217 in 2012.

Limpopo, Free State, Gauteng, Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape suffered fatal car accidents.

Joburg Emergency Services spokeswoman Nana Radebe said there had been 13 car accidents and four incidents involving pedestrians.

“Two people died in Soweto and there were no other fatalities,” she said.

The Gauteng Community Safety Department said seven deaths were recorded on the roads.

“It has been relatively quiet in Joburg,” said metro police spokesman Wayne Minnaar.

Two people were killed and several others, including two children, injured in a crash on the N3 near Pietermaritzburg.

In the Western Cape, two 6-year-old boys were killed in an alleged hit-and-run in Bellville.

“It is understood from bystanders that a station wagon was travelling along Symphony Way and collided with the boys on the side of the road,” said ER24 spokesman Werner Vermaak. He added that paramedics could not locate the car’s driver.

Minnaar said two bikers were arrested for driving at high speeds at the weekend and would appear in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

Vermaak said there were 116 reported accidents nationally since Friday.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said there had been an increase in road safety compliance on all major routes.

On its Twitter awareness campaign, Get There No Regrets, the corporation said law enforcement officers had observed the following repeated infringements:

* Broken-down vehicles parked on the shoulder of the road without switching on hazard lights, or displaying a red triangle or warning sign.

* Motorists hogging the right-hand lane and reluctant to observe the “keep left, pass right” regulation.

* Passengers who loiter on the verge of the road during pit stops.

The RTMC also said some motorists and passengers had displayed impatience at roadside traffic checkpoints, tollgates and road construction sites. “Patience is important,” it stressed.

Limpopo and Free State had the highest number of fatalities by last night, with 18 people dying in two accidents.

Traffic volumes were expected to be at their heaviest on Sunday with people heading home from the Easter break.

Major national routes such as the N1, N2, N3, N4 and R63 had the highest volumes of traffic, with more than 1 000 vehicles passing through tollgates every hour.

The R71 route from Moria in Limpopo, where more than 50 000 members of the Zion Christian Church had gathered for their annual Easter pilgrimage, was expected to experience heavy traffic until late this afternoon.

The RTMC said both the Mozambique and Zimbabwe border posts would experience delays owing to the heavy volume of traffic.

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