File pictures: Matthew Jordaan/Independent Media
Johannesburg – As the Easter holiday period draws to an end, traffic authorities are concerned about the high number of motorists driving without a driver's licence or public driving permit, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said on Sunday. 

"From the cars which were stopped and checked since the start of the holidays, 843 motorists were driving without driver's licences and 380 did not have public driver's permits," RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said. Speeding and overloading were the other leading offences. So far, a total of 1 730 motorists were caught speeding while 354 received fines for overloading of goods, he said. 

Driving unroadworthy vehicles was another contributing factor to crashes and fatalities. During the operations conducted by law enforcers vehicles were inspected and road users were given notices for driving unroadworthy vehicles. Tyres, faulty direction indicators, and parking brakes were the leading offences where notices had been issued, with a total of 590 notices for tyres and 280 for faulty rear lights. 

The RTMC urged motorists to exercise patience as they drove home from the holidays and to avoid speeding. Law enforcement operations would continue on all major routes to ensure the safety of all road users, Zwane said. National transport department spokesman Collen Msibi said the RTMC's law enforcement operations had once again paid off with the arrest of an "alarming number of drunk drivers and road speedsters this Easter weekend". 

"Our traffic police have also impounded a sizeable number of unroadworthy vehicles. Though the consolidated figures will be released after Easter we have ensured that those detected twice while speeding on the same route are also arrested. "We can no longer tolerate habitual traffic offenders. We therefore call upon the judiciary to impose stiffer sentences to perpetual traffic offenders," he said. 

The department had also made sure that unroadworthy vehicles impounded during this period were not released until after the end of the Easter weekend. "We are sending a clear message to traffic offenders that the honeymoon is over. Reckless drivers and chancers shall face the consequences of their actions and pay the highest price. 

As we draw to a close of this Easter weekend we once again warn motorists to take responsibility [for] their actions as they prepare to drive back home. "Motorists must also know that through [the] RTMC we have deployed over 18 000 traffic officers countrywide; this means they will certainly be caught if they are found breaking the rules of the road," Msibi said.