road death toll down from 2008

THERE were 298 fewer deaths on South African roads last month than during the same month in the previous year.

According to the Department of Transport 1050 deaths - 276 drivers, 419 passengers and 355 pedestrians - were recorded between December 1 and December 31. During the same period in 2008 1348 deaths recorded.

Department spokesperson Logan Maistry said: "Speed has been reported as a major contributory factor to these crashes."

"We cannot continue to lose approximately 14000 lives on our roads every year," Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele said yesterday.

Maistry said the police would be out in full force to ensure safety on the roads over the next few days since traffic volumes were expected to increase with the return of people to work.

"We will continue to enforce a zero tolerance approach on drivers who do not adhere to road rules," Maistry said.

He said more than 600000 vehicles and drivers were stopped and checked across SA as part of the Arrive Alive road safety campaign.

At the launch of the campaign on December 6 Ndebele had earlier said no fewer than a million vehicles and drivers would be stopped and checked between December and January.

"Our zero tolerance approach will be intensified beyond the festive season as part of the government's strategy to address the carnage on the roads," he said.

Between December 1 and December 31 more than 285000 motorists were fined for speeding; 3487 drunk drivers arrested; 244 motorists arrested for reckless driving and 2517 unroadworthy vehicles removed from the road, including 1209 buses and taxis.