Number of drunk drivers horrifies transport MEC

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

KwaZulu-Natal's Department of Transport has expressed its shock over the increasing number of drunken drivers, despite campaigns to encourage drivers not to drink and drive.

In a media briefing yesterday morning transport MEC Bheki Cele expressed his concern about the number of drivers arrested for drunken driving during the festive season. He said compared to statistics for the previous year's festive season, there had been a 20percent increase.

"What more can be done? We have put a lot into our awareness campaigns encouraging people not to drink and drive or drink and walk on the roads," he said.

Cele said drivers are now driving drunk in the early hours of the day.

"We caught many of them between 2am and 10am. Of 35000 traffic offences, 664 drivers were found to be under the influence," said Cele.

Speeding was another area of concern. The highest speed recorded by a motorist was 225kmh. Mohamed Zaheer Khan, 25, from North West was fined R5 000.

Cele said what made matters worse was that many speedsters also drove while drunk.

"Some of them are five times over the legal limit."

He said to help fight the problem the authorities would educate children about road safety.

On a positive note, Cele expressed his satisfaction with a drop in crime-related incidents. He attributed this to the visibility of police personnel during the festive season.

KZN's police commissioner Hamilton Ngidi said the drop in crime showed that with planning, anything was possible. He also attributed the decrease to the involvement of private security personnel.