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Minor drop in drunk driving, 'numbers still alarming' in SA

2017-10-29 18:00

Image: Western Cape Department of Transport

Janine Van der Post

Cape Town - Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has released vehicle crime statistics as part of its annual national crime statistics for 2017. 

Statistics highlights the amount of motorists driving under the influence of drinking and drugs.

There has been a 1.5% reduction (75 034) in drivers found driving under the influence in 2016/2017 compared to 76 159 in 2015/2016.

However, when looking at numbers from 10 years ago in 2006/2007, there is a till a significant jump from 48 338 to 75 034 in 2017.

'Socially unacceptable'

The Automobile Associations Layton Beard, says: "If we look at the trend over the 10 year period, the numbers have gone up from 2007/2008 from about 48 338 to over 75000 in the 2016/2017 time frame and it is an alarming concern.

"But what we need to ask is whether the situation has become more prevalent or is it just being enforced better on local roads. Are the numbers really increasing compared to the past or are more people been arrested for drunk driving?"

Beard says, it is however encouraging to see a smaller increase over the previous years compared to the past.

READ: Crime stats in SA - 14.5% increase in carjackings since 2016

"Society is becoming more socially unacceptable about driving under the influence of alcohol, it's a a very encouraging development. We would like to see a massive reduction in numbers of people who are still doing so as it's extremely dangerous and reckless.

"In terms of the provincial breakdown, we've noticed high numbers in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal which is extremely concerning. Even with a 14% drop in numbers, Gauteng is still by far, the province with the most driving under influence motorists.

"And while any reduction is certainly welcomed, we as a society have to reinforce that is it completely unacceptable." 

Arrive Alive editor Johan Jonck says: "It remains alarming that road users share the roads with so many impaired and drunk drivers. The increase in drugs is not only a South African problem but has been highlighted earlier in the US when President Donald Trump declared the Opioid Crisis a National Health Emergency, it is an international crisis! 

"With that said, it is positive to find that the police are focusing much more on the #DrugsOffTheSteets campaigns. 

"It is one more reason why we need to focus on driving defensively, to be aware of the numbers of impaired drivers, and to remain vigilant and alert at all times behind the wheel - especially at night and when approaching intersections."



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