More than 1,500 motorists were arrested for drunk driving, according to the 2021 festive season road safety statistics.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula released the statistics during a media briefing on Tuesday, where he revealed that human factors contributed 79% to the occurrence of fatal crashes on South Africa’s roads.
These factors include driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to wear a seatbelt, excessive speeding and disregard of road conditions.
Road factors contributed 11% to fatal crashes, while vehicle factors recorded 10%.
Mbalula revealed that traffic officers conducted 651 roadblocks throughout the country, issuing 260,000 fines for various traffic offences.
“Of particular interest is that 21,431 of these fines were for drivers who failed to wear seatbelts, while 22,766 were for people who were driving without licences,” he said.
The minister also said a total of 4,251 unroadworthy vehicles were discontinued, while 4,073 vehicles were impounded.
He indicated that 6,169 drivers were arrested for various violations – including 1,586 motorists who were nabbed for drunken driving.
“A total of 605 drivers were arrested for driving at excessive speeds of between 190kph to well above 220kph. The highest speedster was arrested in Limpopo travelling at 225kph,” the minister said.
He added that the driver with the highest alcohol level of 2.43mg was arrested in Johannesburg on 22 December 2021.
Mbalula also defended the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, saying it was needed to tackle “unlawful behaviour” on the roads with its demerit system.
“A fragmented system that fails to recognise the importance of a system grounded on national norms and standards in order to maximise its effectiveness will only result in chaos and serve as a perverse incentive for unlawful behaviour,” he said.
The minister described Aarto as the “final piece of the puzzle” in paving the way for a new road traffic management system in the country.
“The importance of Aarto in driving behaviour change of motorists and providing disincentives for unbecoming conduct cannot be over-emphasised,” Mbalula said.
He further indicated that the Department of Transport will appeal the Pretoria High Court’s ruling that declared the Aarto acts unconstitutional and invalid.
In the judgement, Judge Annali Basson ruled that both acts “must be declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution in its entirety”.