Festive car crashes claim 1465 lives

Transport minister Dikobe Martins speaks about the road death toll and the dangers of drunk driving.

Emergency personnel attending to an accident scene. Picture: Netcare 911 via Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Transport Minister Dikobe Martins on Thursday said the message of road safety appeared to have entered the consciousness of South African citizens.

But he says there are still too many drunk drivers on the country's roads.

Martins announced the 2012 festive season road death toll at 1,465, a drop from around the 1,700 deaths recorded during the 2011 festive season.

He attributes the more than 300 drop in the death toll to the Transport Department's recent road campaign.

Martins says his department is working to deal with the issue of drunk driving.

"It's our ongoing responsibility to ensure that there's a greater awareness of [drunk driving]."

Martins says the major challenge is to ensure that South Africans know the dangers of drinking and driving, or walking.