Cape Town 140626- A taxi overturned on the M5. Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter Argus

Knysna - a Western Cape man has been released on R500 bail after being caught driving while seven times over the limit.

This was one of 26 arrests on a deadly first weekend of the holidays, in which 19 people died on the province’s roads - including six people in a single car.

Gregory Chemaly, 42, was arrested at 3.25am just west of Plettenberg Bay at the area known as Weldon Kaye, on the N2 just before the town.

He had been driving a Ford Bantam bakkie and was tested by breathalyser on the scene. The reading was 1.71mg per 1000ml – seven times the legal limit.

In South Africa, the legal limit is a breath alcohol content of 0.24mg per 1000ml.

He was taken to Knysna Hospital, where a sample of his blood was drawn and he was released on bail of R500 on Sunday morning.

Donald Grant, Western Cape MEC for transport and public works, reported that 22 “alcohol blitz” roadblocks staged over the past weekend saw 2168 vehicles stopped as part of Provincial Traffic services’ road safety campaign.

A total of 962 drivers had been screened for being under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, resulting in 26 arrests.

Those arrested now face being charged with one of two crimes, or both.

These are driving “over the limit”: this means the driver was tested and found to be over the legal limit for blood alcohol.

The second possible charge is driving “under the influence”: this means the driver was convicted based on records showing him or her to be driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs - for example, witness testimony or photographic evidence.

Grant reported that of 10 246 vehicles screened for speeding, 999 speeding offences were recorded.

“Two hundred and fifty-seven fines - totalling R176 400 - were issued for traffic violations, ranging from driver to vehicle fitness.

The highest speeds recorded were 182km/h in a 120km/h zone on the N1 in the Brackenfell service area, 177km/h in a 100km/h zone on the N1 in the Caledon service area, and 116km/h in a 80km/h zone on the N2 in the Somerset West service area.

But the worst news was 19 deaths.

These included:

Six people (one driver, two male passengers, two female passengers and one female infant passenger), when a truck and a sedan collided on the N7 near Moorreesburg on Saturday, June 28.

One driver when a vehicle overturned on Papkuils Road, Darling on Saturday.

One pedestrian in Stellenbosch on Saturday.

One pedestrian in Saron on Saturday.

Five people burnt beyond recognition in a head-on collision on the Kanonkop Road, near Stellenbosch on Saturday.

One driver when a truck overturned on the R60 Robertson/Worcester Road on Sunday.

One pedestrian in Bishop Lavis on Sunday.

One pedestrian in Harare on Sunday.

One pedestrian in Nyanga on Sunday.

One pedestrian in Heatherlands (Eden District, Southern Cape) on Sunday.

Grant said the “no-nonsense” enforcement approach would continue over the coming months.

Drivers and other road users were urged to call the Emergency Traffic Control Centre at 021 812 4581 to report bad driving, or report the incident on the Safely Home Reporter.

Cape Argus