Johannesburg - At least 767 people have been killed in vehicle accidents so far this festive season, up 16 percent on the same period last year, Transport Minister Blade Nzimande announced on Thursday.
"What stands out quite glaringly is that many vehicles involved in fatal crashes had a high number of occupants and with most crashes occurring between 7pm and 8pm and between 10pm and 11pm. Since December the 1st, the majority of crashes happened on Saturday, Sunday and Monday,'' said Nzimande.
KwaZulu-Natal recorded 162 deaths, the highest in South Africa. It was followed by Gauteng at 125, Limpopo and Eastern Cape at 89 each, while Mpumalanga recorded 82 deaths. The Western Cape recorded 81 road deaths, Free State 78, North West 57 and Northern Cape the lowest with 24 deaths.
Light vehicles contributed 47 percent to the total crashes, followed by light delivery vehicles at 21 percent, minibus taxis at 7 and trucks 5.
Said Nzimande: ''Since the beginning of our heightened road safety programme, we've had 44 fatalities from crashes involving five minibus taxis and trucks. Minibus operators must consider having two drivers to relieve each other during long distance journeys to avoid fatigue. This is a small price to pay to avoid the untold misery and pain that families and society [experience].''