Durban - More than 1400 people died on South Africa's roads during the festive season, Transport Minister Dikobe Ben Martins said on Thursday.
“According to the SA Police Service, it is estimated that approximately 1465 people lost their lives,” Martins said in announcing the preliminary road death statistics in Durban.
He attributed the deaths to drinking and driving, speeding, dangerous overtaking, failure to use seatbelts and vehicle unroadworthiness.
He said the deaths occurred in 1221 fatal accidents between December 1 and January 8, and that about 40 percent had involved pedestrians, most of whom had walked onto roads while drunk.
Martins called for a ban on alcohol advertising to prevent motorists drinking and driving.
Road Traffic Management Corporation acting CEO Collins Letsoala said alcohol contributed to 60 percent of road accidents a year.
These cost the economy R180 billion of the R306bn lost every year to road deaths.
He said that this festive season, 1 282 586 vehicles were stopped and checked, and that 226 major operations were conducted.
A total of 3944 people were arrested: 2856 of them for drinking and driving, 116 for speeding, 146 for reckless or negligent driving, and 826 for other offences.
He said 135 vehicles were impounded and 242 were discontinued.
Letsoala said the focus now would be on corrupt driving schools and officers.
In October and November, 35 people from private testing centres were arrested in Gauteng. - Sapa