There was carnage on KwaZulu-Natal roads at the start of the Easter weekend despite a number of preventative measures implemented to ensure the safety of visitors and locals.
Zinhle Mngomezulu, the spokeswoman for the Road Traffic Inspectorate, said it had prepared for the influx of visitors with 35 roadblocks placed in the province.
Other measures included more officers on duty as well as a 24-hour operation in Ladysmith.
She said the roadblocks netted the following:
- 22 530 cars stopped between Thursday and Saturday.
- 4 676 written charges (fines) issued, of which 758 were for speeding.
- 119 unroadworthy vehicles impounded.
- 40 drunk drivers arrested.
- 392 drivers caught driving without licences.
- 350 drivers fined for not wearing seatbelts
- 295 drivers fined for failure to pay annual licences.
- 40 warrants executed for drivers who had not paid outstanding fines.
“We have a road block set up at Van Reenen (Pass) to ensure that as people enter our province we are there to safeguard them.”
But she said road safety was a shared responsibility. “We are on duty doing our part and we need motorists to do theirs. We can’t do it alone.”
Despite the measures, paramedics have been kept busier this year attending to an increase in accidents across the province. The death toll stood at 18 by yesterday afternoon.
Six people including a child died in the horror crash on the R61 at the Shelly Beach off-ramp on Friday morning.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said when paramedics arrived at the scene there was carnage.
“Accident debris and the twisted frames of the vehicles were spread over a large area, with some of the occupants still trapped in the wreckage. Six people died and a man was critical injured. After he was extricated and stabilised, he was transported to a nearby hospital.”
He said the dead in one car was a family who lived outside Durban. The father survived and was in a critical condition in hospital. The other driver was from Limpopo.
Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane could not provide the names of the deceased.
Botha said they would remain on high alert for the rest of the long weekend. “We have been very busy with accidents across the province this year, much busier than last year. Friday was a nightmare with accidents everywhere.”
ER24 spokesman Russell Meiring said they, too, had responded to a number of accidents in KZN.
“We have been asked to be on high alert because government paramedics are on strike. But everything is under control.”
Also killed was a taxi driver who died on Friday when he collided with a bridge on the N2 before Inanda Road. The taxi split in two on impact.
In another crash a male passenger was in a critical condition after the vehicle he was travelling in hit a tree on Newlands West Drive on Friday night. The driver had fled the scene by the time paramedics arrived.
Seven people were injured when three vehicles collided along the R61 at the Mpenjati Bridge on the South Coast on Friday.
In a separate accident three people died and 12 were seriously injured when a taxi lost control and crashed into a building on Dinkelman Highway near Clermont on Friday.
That same day, six people were seriously injured when a vehicle rolled on Avoca Hills Drive, Avoca.
The car veered off the road and plunged down a 20m embankment before coming to rest on its side on top of a parked vehicle.
A 60 year-old woman is in a critical condition after a vehicle rolled in Oakland Drive, Verulam, as it negotiated a bend. The driver was trapped in the wreckage. She was stabilised at the scene before being rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.
In another accident on Friday, a pedestrian was killed on the N3 in Hillcrest when he was hit by a car as he tried to cross the busy freeway.