blitz on TRAFFIC VIOLATORS

In little more than a month, more than 33000 motorists have been charged for traffic violations in KwaZulu-Natal, and these figures exclude speed camera recordings, the provincial transport department said yesterday.

In little more than a month, more than 33000 motorists have been charged for traffic violations in KwaZulu-Natal, and these figures exclude speed camera recordings, the provincial transport department said yesterday.

Bheki Cele, MEC for transport, community safety and liaison, released the figures at a press briefing in Durban.

He said there was a total of 33138 charges between December 1 2007 and January 8 2008 for various traffic offences.

"These charges included 6977 speed charges, 962 people arrested for drunken driving, 2618 people nabbed for driving without driver's licences, 1827 people fined for not wearing seatbelts, 118 drivers fined for inconsiderate driving and 71 arrested for speeding," said Cele.

Another 941 vehicles were found to be unroadworthy and were taken off the roads.

Cele said fatalities on the province's roads had decreased considerably since the last financial year.

He said 246 people had died between December 1 2007 and January 8 this year as compared to 323 fatalities during the same period last year.

Of the 246 deceased, 46 were drivers, 76 passengers and 124 pedestrians.

From the 323 road fatalities last year, 175 were pedestrians.

Cele said pedestrian fatalities were the most challenging task for the province, but stressed that the department would be looking at the issue closely this year.

Road Traffic Inspectorate manager John Schnell said they expect more than a million new cars on the roads this year as compared to 300000 new cars on the roads last year. "This will obviously cause heavy congestion on the roads . but we are working to continue reducing road fatalities," said Schnell.

He said fatal crashes in the province had been reduced by 11,52percent while fatalities on the roads had decreased by 11,80percent.

He also said that deaths of pedestrians were still high.

Cele said speeding was still cause for concern after 7600 motorists exceeded the speed limit.

He said that between December 4 and December 18 2007 at least 7600 motorists had been caught on camera for speeding in the province ". and they will be receiving their fines in the posts soon".

The highest speed recorded during the festive season was 217kmh on the N3 near Gillitts. The driver was arrested and released on a warning, said Cele.

The highest speed recorded for a minibus taxi in the province during the same period was also on the N3 near Estcourt.

A taxi was recorded travelling at 179kmh. Cele said the driver received a R5000 fine in court.

The highest speed recorded for a heavy motor vehicle in the province during the same time was on the N2 freeway in Scottsburgh.

The driver was caught doing 119kmh and was later released on R2000 bail.

Another 962 people were charged for drunken driving between December 1 and January 8. - Sapa

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