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Negligence, drunk driving the leading cause of road fatalities

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters says that 845 road fatalities have been recorded since 1 December.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, right, addressing the media on road fatalities. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Negligence and drunken driving have again been identified as the leading causes of deaths on the country's roads.

This emerged at a Transport Department briefing in Midrand on Tuesday, where Minister Dipuo Peters revealed that 845 road fatalities have been recorded since the start of this month.

She says the arrest of over 2,000 drunken drivers in Gauteng alone shows that some South African drivers are not willing to obey the rules of the road.

“We also commend Gauteng province on the arrest of 2,509 drunken drivers, who are the main causes of crashes.”

Peters says men have accounted for the highest number of road fatalities since the start of the festive season, accounting for 79%.

The minister says men are being most negligent, but her department has also noted with concern an increase in the number of female drivers arrested for drunken driving across the country.

“Females account for 21.1% of the total percentage of our fatalities. We have to deal decisively with this phenomenon and investigate the causal factors of this unfortunate trend.”

Meanwhile, the Road Traffic Management Corporation has put its weight behind new municipal by-laws that allow certain municipalities in the Western Cape to confiscate motorists’ cellphones if they’re found on the phone while driving.

Drivers would then have to pay amounts of up to R2,000 to get their phones back.

RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said, “We have seen the use of cellphones while driving is a major contributor to accidents and that is why we welcome the intervention by some metros and municipalities in dealing with the use of cellphones while driving.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)