KWAZULU-Natal is heading for a bleak festive season on the roads. Traffic authorities recorded 104 road fatalities in October alone.
Transport MEC Willies Mchunu disclosed the alarming statistics during a press briefing held in Durban yesterday.
Twenty-nine drivers, 44 passengers and 31 pedestrians were killed, according to the statistics.
Mchunu said, “This then tells you that if the mindset of our motorists does not change, we are heading for dark Christmas holidays.
“Pedestrian fatalities are also of great concern to us and our plans from now onwards will focus on them.”
This October road death toll has more than doubled when compared with the same month last year. The number of deaths increased by 55.
Last October there were 12 drivers, 11 passengers and 26 pedestrians killed.
An accident involving a minibus taxi and bakkie killed 19 occupants of the vehicles during a collision in Kokstad on October 23.
Four days later three occupants of a vehicle died on the N3 between Bergville Plaza and Tugela River.
As a sign that motorists in the province might be the cause of accidents, a driver was caught driving at a speed of 192 km/h in the N2’s 120km/h zone north of Durban.
Mchunu said when Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele announced in October that a million vehicles would be stopped throughout the country, the province had planned to stop 170 000.
However, more than 200 000 vehicles have been stopped.
Mchunu said that of more than 170 000 drivers tested for alcohol, only 49 tested positive. It is not clear what time of the day the tests were conducted.
Mchunu has appealed to road users to adjust their mindsets.
“We are going to visit taxi ranks in particular to engage with drivers and long-distance buses to appeal for a safe and accident-free festive season,” he said.
He added that the department will continue with its naming and shaming campaign, which entails publishing names of road offenders in newspapers.
“We want to expose all those who disrespect our laws, but also for the public to know the names of the people responsible for so many fatalities on our roads,” he said.