Cape Town - 121218 - A Golden Arrow bus, allegedly jumping a red light, crashed into a sedan on Stock Road in Mitchell's Plain. Two occupants were cut out using the jaws of life. PICTURE: THOMAS HOLDER

The main cause of road fatalities on Western Cape roads over the past few weeks has been fatigue, say traffic authorities.

Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said on Wednesday 43 people had died on the province’s roads since 6 December, the day they launched their festive season campaign.

Africa said there had been six major accidents since then.

“This morning just after 7am outside Velddrif a 22-year-old male motorcyclist was stopped and warned for driving negligently. A while after he was stopped he lost control of his motorbike,” said Africa.

He added that traffic officials have been conducting speed trapping every day on Western Cape roads.

The speeds of 67 473 vehicles were tested and 5722 motorists were prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit.

On Tuesday the highest recorded speeds were 170km/h in a 120km/h zone and 166km/h in a 100km/h zone.

“We will continue speed trapping throughout the province, day and night; we will not tolerate excessive speed on our roads. Those speedsters will be dealt with; we will stop and arrest them.”

He added that fatigue played a major role in most accidents.

“Last Thursday evening was the most gruesome accident, between Worcester and De Doorns, involving a minibus and passenger bus which collided. Two passengers of the bus were burnt beyond recognition.”

Africa said authorities have been conducting alcohol blitzes in addition to their fatigue management programme.

“From Friday up to Monday we arrested 39 drunken drivers and one for reckless driving. They did not adhere to the rules of the road and spent the night behind bars.

“In the early hours of Tuesday morning we also concentrated on special operation long-distance passenger buses, stopping several buses. We will continue with these operations throughout the festive season and will have spot checks on all national roads.”

He added that those motorists who seemed fatigued would be stopped and prohibited from driving.

“When we find a person who is not fit to drive, the keys will be taken and the car parked at a safe place for two to three hours,” Africa said.

Earlier this week, the Cape Argus reported that there have been 89 deaths on the province’s roads since the start of December - a 35 percent increase from 2011 when 66 people had died, according to MEC for transport and public works Robin Carlisle.

He said that of the 89 fatalities, 37 had been passengers, 31 pedestrians, 16 drivers, three motorcyclists and two cyclists.

Carlisle added that they would continue with their controversial “fatigue management programme” where they pulled drivers off the road and forced them to rest if traffic officers thought drivers were fatigued.

On Tuesday, the Road Traffic Management Corporation said more than 600 people have been killed in crashes across South Africa since the beginning of December. The corporation said there had been 564 incidents resulting in 676 deaths from 1-18 December. - Cape Argus

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