PICS: 47 killed in KZN Easter weekend crashes
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DURBAN: AT least 47 people were killed in road crashes in KwaZulu-Natal over the Easter weekend.
The latest reports from the Department of Transport and Community Safety state that there were 37 crashes recorded between April 1 and April 4. During the same period last year the country was under level 5 restrictions of the national lockdown. During the same period in 2019, of 31 crashes resulting in 40 fatalities were recorded in KZN.
On Saturday, on the N2 towards Pongola in the Godlwayo area, four people were killed when a driver, carrying 29 people from a wedding, lost control of the vehicle and it overturned.
“Three people died instantly at the scene of the crash and the fourth victim who had sustained serious injuries died later in hospital. Meanwhile, 25 victims who had sustained injuries were also taken to hospital for urgent medical attention. Reports indicate that the cause of the accident include speeding, alcohol and burst tyre,” MEC Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni said.
She said the motorist with the highest blood-alcohol content was arrested in Scottburgh. His alcohol reading was 2.68 mg/l, 11 times over the legal alcohol limit.
The highest speed recorded was on the N2 near Mtunzini in the Empangeni Region where a motorist was caught driving at 170km/h in a 120km zone.
Traffic volumes were beginning to peak as holidaymakers were travelling back to their respective destinations. By noon, more 2 000 cars an hour were passing through the Mariannhill Toll Plaza on the N3 from KwaZulu-Natal.
Nkonyeni said empirical evidence showed that most road accidents were caused by human behaviour such as speeding, overloading and driving under the influence of alcohol.
”Road fatalities are a major concern to the provincial government. However, it takes each individual to play their part in curbing the high rate of accidents that occur each year on our roads. No matter how many law enforcement officers we may deploy, we can never be able to police every aspect of motorists’ behaviour, so this calls for us to individually take responsibility for our actions when we get behind the steering wheel,“ she said.
The MEC expressed her condolences to the families of those killed in weekend crashes.
"We also wish those fighting for their lives in hospital a speedy recovery.“
Nkonyeni said that as part of the Operation Vala Easter Safety Plan roll-out programme, law enforcement officers stopped 14 739 vehicles at multidisciplinary roadblocks and other operations throughout the province.
“This resulted in 1 345 written charges being issued, a total of 111 motorists were arrested for drunken driving, 324 motorists were charged for speeding, while 111 vehicles were suspended, and 48 vehicles impounded.
“Furthermore, a total of 356 motorists were charged for various offences that included driving without a driving licence, driving an unlicensed vehicle, inconsiderate driving and failure to wear a seatbelt while driving.”
The MEC has appealed to pedestrians to avoid jaywalking on freeways and reiterated that ensuring safety on roads in KZN was a shared responsibility.
”Integrated roadblocks will continue throughout the province, targeting all degrees of crime including unroadworthy vehicles, overloading, distractive driving, drinking and driving and illegal drugs among other violations,” Nkonyeni said.