Durban – Motorists in townships will have to think twice before drinking and driving. The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport has vowed to come down hard on errant motorists who believe they have carte blanche on township roads.

This emerged during the weekend when KZN Transport MEC Mxolisi Kaunda was overseeing a road safety operation in uMlazi, where more than 35 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

“We are here because we believe the entry and exit points of our townships must be targeted if we are to make a meaningful impact in the fight against road crashes and fatalities,” he said.

“This multi-disciplinary roadblock has exposed us to the reality that people still continue to undermine the law. We believe with operations of this nature, a clear message is sent and must have been felt.”

The operation involved the SAPS, metro police, Road Traffic Inspectorate and National Traffic Police and was located near the popular haunts of Maxi’s Lifestyle and eYadini Lounge.

Kaunda said there would be similar operations across the province because drinking and driving was one of the biggest contributors to the high number of road fatalities.

The chief executive of MUA Insurance Acceptances, Dawie Loots, said: “Christmas tends to see a rise in the level of drink driving as well as speeding and generally more erratic driving by people. It is therefore crucial that motorists take extra care and precaution during this period.”

This was worrying as there were 1253 crashes during last year’s festive period, from December 1 to January 11. This was an 11% increase from the previous period.

Loots offered the following tips for people who were travelling during the festive season:

* Prepare a first aid kit and carry essential medicines on your trip.

* If travelling with children, plan ahead to keep the children occupied so they do not become a big distraction for the driver.

* Ensure that all passengers wear their safety belts at all times.

* Ensure your car is roadworthy by checking the brakes, steering, tyres (including the spare), wheel alignment, exhaust system, possible fuel leaks, headlights, indicators, stop and tail-lights and windscreen wiper blades.

* If possible, make sure you service your car before taking a trip.

* Despite the additional demands on your pocket during the festive season, it’s vital to ensure that all your motor vehicle, life and disability insurance premiums are up to date.

A good motor policy should provide assistance services such as jump starts, flat tyres, vehicle unlocking and fuel delivery.

If you break down more than a certain distance from your home, your insurance provider should provide overnight accommodation or 24-hour car rental.

Daily News