Picture: Facebook
Johannesburg - There have been widespread calls for stern action to be taken against a driver suspected to have been drunk when he lost control of his taxi, leaving 13 children injured, in Soweto on Monday.

The scholar transport driver is said to have been reeking of alcohol when he lost control and collided with a tree while transporting kids to school.

Gauteng traffic police spokesperson Busaphi Nxumalo confirmed that the driver of the private school vehicle was arrested for allegedly being drunk.

“The driver disregarded traffic signals, he was speeding and the car was overloaded,” she said. He was immediately arrested and the children were taken to hospital.

Joburg metro police department spokesperson Senior Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the children, aged about seven, were left seriously injured.

He said the driver was charged with drunk driving and reckless and negligent driving.

Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane expressed shock at the accident. She appealed to motorists, particularly scholar transport operators, to exercise caution and to make road safety a priority.

“The learner transport accident is shocking, more so after a number of learner transport initiatives the department undertook with transport operators and parents in recent times. Despite various road safety measures in place, Gauteng roads continue to experience an increasing number of fatal crashes," she said.

"The safety of our passengers, especially learners within the public transport system, remains a priority to law enforcement agencies.”

Nkosi-Malobane said her department would intensify road safety strategies to deal with serious accidents in Gauteng.

Nxumalo said parents needed to pay better attention to the type of transport they got for their children.

“Parents must have relationships with those who transport their children to school. If they do, they will be able to see issues like drunkenness and overloading in the taxis. Parents should also take charge and be responsible for the inspection of these vehicles, because traffic officials cannot win this battle alone,” she said.

The Star