Roads death toll stands at 1 279
The death toll on South African roads over the festive season stands at 1 279, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has said.
“Preliminary reports from the SAPS [SA Police Service] for the period December 1  to January 1  indicated 1 067 crashes, resulting in 1 279 fatalities,” said spokesperson Ashref Ismail.
The death toll stood at 1 207 on Monday.
In the previous year, 1 551 people were killed between December 1 2011 and January 5 2012.
Ismail said there had been 21 major accidents reported between December 1 last year and January 1 this year.
The department of transport on Wednesday said more than 2 100 motorists had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol since December 1.
“This can’t be normal… [between] December 1 and today [January 2], over 2 100 people were arrested for drunk driving,” said spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso.
“Families and the economy continue to suffer and bleed, because we are losing manpower when people are killed in accidents. The department is concerned because we continue to witness unnecessary loss of lives.”
In the accidents over the festive season, alcohol and excessive speed were “common denominators” in many of the fatal crashes.
“We need to remove habitual offenders from our roads – they are turning our roads into killing fields,” he said.