Stock photo: Henk Kruger.

Durban - While people were busy with New Year’s Eve celebrations, 15 motorists spent the night in jail after being arrested for drunk driving during a metro police roadblock conducted along the beachfront.

On Tuesday, metro police spokesman Senior Superintendent Eugene Msomi, said there were various roadblock operations along the beachfront, but there were no major incidents reported.

Metro police conducted a roadblock in Margaret Mncadi (Victoria Embankment) Avenue, Masabalala Yengwa (NMR) Avenue and Sandile Thusi (Argyle) Road.

Figures of those arrested were yet to be released.

KZN Department of Transport spokesman Kwanele Ncalane, said since the beginning of December, there had been about 175 road fatalities caused by people who disobey road rules. “It is mainly drinking and driving,” he said.

Ncalane said roadblock operations had resulted in more than 1 036 motorists being arrested for drunk driving in the province.

A total of 3 785 motorists were arrested for driving without a licence. “This shows that people are disregarding the law,” Ncalane said.

Last year, about 205 people died on the province’s roads during the December period, which has declined this year.

“MEC Willies Mchunu is pleased with the work done by traffic enforcement in the province. There were various road operations in the province but these were disrupted by the weather conditions,” Ncalane said.

Nationally, the festive season death toll has reached 1 207, Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) spokesman, Ashref Ismail, said yesterday.

Ismail said the 1 207 people had been killed in accidents since the beginning of last month.

At least 18 had died in road accidents and in a light plane crash since New Year, traffic police said.

A breakdown of road-user data would be made available at the end of the week.

Ismail said most accidents were caused by reckless driving, dangerous overtaking, speeding and drunken driving.

He said they were expecting a “higher than usual” increase in traffic on freeways and major roads from today, before the re-opening of schools and people travelling back home after their holidays.

“I understand people are fed up, tired and are in a hurry to get home, but it’s no excuse for disobeying traffic laws and risking the lives of others,” he said.

Ismail said drivers found guilty of drinking and driving, excessive speeding and reckless driving would be subjected to a re-test of their learner’s and driver’s licences. - Daily News