Cape Town - Road authorities have reported carnage on the province’s roads – with 27 deaths since Friday – and have urged motorists to “slow down”.
Four people were killed on impact when a car collided head-on with a truck just outside Malmesbury on the N7, in the direction of Moorreesburg, on Monday night at 8pm.
“The province’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS) responded with specialist equipment to extricate the bodies from the mangled wreckage, which took several hours due to the severity of the crash,” spokesman Robert Daniels said.
Tragedy struck again on Tuesday: “Three women died at 8.30 this morning when the taxi they were travelling in rolled on Princess Road in Hout Bay and landed upside down in the Disa River,” Daniels said.
A woman passenger and the driver of the sedan taxi had been taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Speaking about the spate of deaths, Hector Eliott, chief director of the Department of Transport and Public Works’s Safely Home campaign, told the Cape Argus on Tuesday: “Preliminary data indicates 12 of the 24 deaths (now 27) on our roads since Friday were pedestrians, including a 12-year-old girl.
“Pedestrians, particularly children, are the most vulnerable road users.
“Motorists who choose to drive well within the speed limit and adjust their speed for wet and dark conditions dramatically decrease their chances of killing a pedestrian, as they will have more time to react, and there will be far less force involved in the impact if a collision occurs.
“Without trying to lay blame for the tragedies playing out daily on our roads, the evidence is clear that significant numbers of the people killed would still be alive today had the motorists involved just chosen to drive just a little bit slower that day.”
There were no plans to reduce general speed limits, in terms of the Road Traffic Act, but there were many people who believed 60km/h was too fast for urban areas, especially residential areas.
Authorities were studying international best practice, including Berlin in Germany, where some areas had speed limits of 40km/h.
Two of the deaths in the past 72 hours were on Saturday night, when a young couple were hit by a train as they headed to a function.
The pair were later named as Christiaan Schultz from Somerset West and Lezaan van Niekerk, whose parents are from Springbok.
The pair were first-year students at Stellenbosch University and were in their teens.
Riana Scott, spokeswoman for Metrorail, reported: “The incident happened at a farm crossing between Vlottenberg and Stellenbosch – they were allegedly en route to the farm to attend a function.
“Emergency services declared both dead at the scene. Railway police were in attendance.
“The train driver is suffering from shock and has been sent for medical assessment.
“The 11 passengers on board were transported by bus to Bellville.”
Scott said the level crossing protection measures were fully compliant with the law.
“Every level is fully investigated under the auspices of the Rail Safety Regulator,” she explained.