Alcohol ban leads to fewer crashes, fatalities on Gauteng roads
Gauteng experienced a sharp decrease in road accidents and fatalities after the ban of alcohol sales in the week before the New Year's Eve festivities.
On December 28, the president announced the alcohol ban as part of new regulations to control the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
As thousands of people travelled back to their homes at the weekend after holidays in other provinces, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni metro police reported a largely quiet weekend on the roads, with the traffic being orderly and easily manageable.
Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Xolani Fihla said the roads had been quiet since the level 3 restrictions came into effect at midnight on December 29. He said 50 people were arrested on December 30 for contravening the curfew. However, he said after these arrests, the situation on the city roads was “very quiet”.
Ekurhuleni metro police spokesperson Kobeli Mokheseng said their roads were also peaceful and manageable.
“Currently we see peace on our roads, especially when there is no alcohol in the picture. We are able to manage the traffic in collaboration with other law enforcers such as SAPS, and Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC),” said Mokheseng.
He said the ban on the sale of alcohol under the adjusted regulations of the level 3 lockdown was a major contributor to reduced traffic incidents at this time of the year, compared to the norm of the festive season.
Mokheseng said six motorists were arrested on January 1 for failing to adhere to the speed limit and a pedestrian died on January 2 in Kempton Park after being hit by a minibus taxi just before 9pm.
RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said the busiest routes by late yesterday were the N1 and N3, where there were more than 1,500 vehicles recorded an hour.
Motorists experienced heavy delays when the N3 was closed on Saturday evening after a serious crash in heavy rain involving six vehicles near Warden in Free State.
Eight people were killed and three others seriously injured, the department of roads and transport confirmed. Spokesperson Hillary Mophethe told the SABC that a vehicle was travelling southbound and five other vehicles travelling north when the head-on collision occurred.
“It is alleged that the Jetta lost control, veered to the northbound [lanes] and collided with all five vehicles. All occupants of the Polo Vivo and four others from the Jetta lost their lives. A total of eight people died on the scene. One female and seven males died, while three people escaped the crash with serious injuries and one escaped with minor injuries,” Mophethe said.