Death toll worrying

Because statistics tend to be cold and impersonal, many South Africans may not immediately fathom the anguish and sense of loss felt by families of the 568 people killed in road accidents since the beginning of this week.

Because statistics tend to be cold and impersonal, many South Africans may not immediately fathom the anguish and sense of loss felt by families of the 568 people killed in road accidents since the beginning of this week.

Of those killed 168 were drivers, 230 passengers and 170 pedestrians, according to the Road Traffic Management Corporation figures released on Monday.

The deaths mainly resulted from speeding, driver fatigue, drunken driving and jaywalking.

Behind the road death toll's faceless figures are people who might have been breadwinners, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters and whose untimely death may have left psychological scars on their kin.

For the bereaved families, Christmas Day unexpectedly came with a dark cloud this year while millions of others throughout will celebrate the day with the usual exuberant merrymaking.

Most worrisome, though, is the usual excesses that punctuate the festive season: drinking binges that lead to uncivil behaviour. As always, there is nothing wrong with a festive cheer - just as long as it is peaceful and civil.

Police must act against those who endanger the lives of others on the road and other public places.

We urge for calm and restraint among the revellers during both Christmas Day and New Year's eve.

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