With a drive-safely campaign in full swing, South African law enforcement agencies have arrested a total of 3,078 motorists for breaking traffic rules in the first 16 days of the festive period (from December 1 to 16), authorities said on Monday.
Those arrested are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, reckless and negligent driving and possession of false documents, according to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).
Most of the arrests were related to drunken driving. The highest number of arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol was recorded in Gauteng Province where 1,639 motorists were arrested. Meanwhile the Free State recorded the highest number of arrests for speeding, with 113 motorists nabbed.
Traffic officers have set up 258 roadblocks in all provinces and issued written notices (traffic fines) to 152, 243 motorists for transgression of traffic regulations.
More than 10,000 drivers were given notices failing to wear seatbelts while 1,426 were given fines for talking on the cell-phones while driving, the RTMC said.
“Roadblocks and traffic law enforcement operations are to be intensified again this week on the second peak travel period from Friday December 23 when motorists will be travelling to various places, including places of worship for Christmas,” RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said.
He urged motorists to exercise caution, be aware of pedestrians and respect the rules of the road.
Road carnage is a daily phenomenon, particularly during holidays in South Africa, which is among the countries that have the highest road facilities.
The country has more than 700,000 crashes a year on the average, with three children dying every day in road accidents, according to the RTMC.
During the 2014/2015 festive season, 1,118 fatal road accidents were recorded between Dec. 1 and Jan. 5, causing 1,368 fatalities, official figures showed.