Accident scene.
Durban - Seven people died in accidents in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday as traffic into the province surged with the approach of the New Year.

In the first accident, six people died when a truck crashed into several cars.

KZN EMS spokesperson Robert McKenzie said there had been a serious crash on the R61 at Palm Beach on the South Coast.

“A truck and three cars were involved. Sadly there were six fatalities and five people seriously injured,” he said.

The crash was believed to have occurred at a roadblock set up by Ray Nkonyeni Municipality traffic police.

Attempts to get comment from the municipality were unsuccessful.

In the second accident, a woman, believed to be in her 30s, was killed when the vehicle in which she was travelling rolled down an embankment off the R33 in Northdale, Pietermaritzburg. A male passenger was seriously injured.

The N3 Toll Concession said on Friday crashes were becoming increasingly severe.

Con Roux of N3TC said: “The N3 Toll Concession shares the concern of law enforcement and emergency services that excessive speeds, recklessness and an increase in the number of non-roadworthy vehicles are exacerbating the already dangerous situations on our roads.”

A total of 983 crashes were recorded on the N3 between Cedara and Heidelberg from January to November 2017, compared with 1044 for the same period last year. But 148 people died this year compared with 89 in 2016.

“The severity of accidents is increasing," Roux said. " We appeal to drivers to exercise utmost caution.”

The N3TC said high traffic volumes were expected along the N3 toll route until 2 January. Traffic heading north was expected to increase towards the end of the week.

In eThekwini, metro police warned beach-goers and drivers that drinking and driving would not be tolerated.

“We are out in force this weekend," said metro police spokesman Superintendent Parbhoo Sewpersadh. "People will not be allowed to carry alcohol to the beaches and parks.

“Over the past 12 days we have arrested more than 230 drunk drivers, he said. "There is also a trend we are seeing that hasn’t been seen before, young women between 18 and 25 driving drunk if you are caught this weekend, you could spend your New Year’s party in police cells,” he said.

Sewpersadh urged beach-goers to listen to the advice of lifeguards.

“We’ve had incidents where people do not want to listen to lifeguards, and we roped in the mounted unit, which are the officers on horse patrol, to get into the water and get people out. People must comply with lifeguards for their own safety, especially in cases where there are rip currents,” he said.