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Easter carnage claims 241

2013-04-09 08:18

GRIM TOLL ON SA ROADS: A shocking number of pedestrians were killed over the 2013 Easter weekend. Even more alarming is reportedly only 2% of passengers use safety belts. Image: SAPA:

Earlier in April we reported on a host of accidents across SA as the 2013 Easter holiday took a grim toll in South Africa.

The true scale of the road carnage has now come to light: at least 241 people were killed in road incidents during the Easter long weekend - most of them pedestrians.

National transport minister Ben Martins said there were 201 fatal crashes - but most of those killed were on foot - which beg the question: When will the government embark on a hard-hitting radio and TV attack on jaywalking?

The death toll in 2012 was 217 from 181 fatal incidents.

'ONLY 2% USE SEAT BELTS'

Martins said: "Many passengers died because they did not use a seat belt. Only 2% of passengers use safety belts compared to 60% of drivers."

He said campaigns would now be launched to ensure all passengers, including rear seat passengers, buckled up... and the pedestrians, Mr Martins?

Martins said 250 000 vehicles were stopped during the holiday and 79 056 notices of prosecution were issued. He said 1039 licences were suspended and 1024 vehicles were impounded.

"864 drivers were arrested for (allegedly) driving under the influence of alcohol. About 600 of these were arrested in urban areas," he said.

The 2013 Easter weekend began on March 28 and ended on April 1. It coincided with school holidays and took place at the end of the month, which heightened traffic volumes, Martins said.

NEGATIVE EFFECT ON CAR SALES

The South African vehicle market has seen its first year-on-year sales decline in many years, according to the latest figures from the National Association of Automotive Manufacturers of South Africa.

March, usually the best sales month after October, lived up to expectations with 54 946 finding a home in SA. New vehicle sales were up by 3.3% on February 2013 but were lower than March 2012 by 2.1%.

The decline, Naamsa said, was due to the Easter weekend falling in the month and the subsequent decline in the number of sales days.

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