1,755 Die On South African Roads Over Festive Season

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1,755 Die On South African Roads Over Festive Season

Despite the lack of progress, the South African government vowed to increase efforts to reduce the road fatalities.

Johannesburg,:  More than 1,700 South Africans died on the roads over the six-week festive season, a 14 percent jump over last year despite a national safety campaign, official figures revealed today.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said there were 1,387 fatal crashes from December 1 to January 11, with 1,755 deaths.

Speeding, reckless overtaking, unroadworthy vehicles, and a failure to buckle up were blamed for the high numbers, which spike over the December holiday period as people head to the coast or to rural areas.

More than 6,000 motorists were arrested for drunken driving. A total of 5,710 vehicles were found unroadworthy, which Peters said was an "unacceptably high number", blaming corruption in vehicle-testing centres.

"We cannot sleep peacefully when thousands of road users are mowed down by irresponsible road users," she told a press conference.

Over half a million new drivers were licensed last year and an extra 340,000 vehicles registered.

A World Health Organization report in October said that some 1.25 million people are killed in traffic accidents around the world each year, with Africa the continent with by far the most dangerous roads.

It said Africa is particularly deadly for pedestrians and cyclists, who make up 43 percent of all road traffic deaths on the continent.

Despite the lack of progress, the South African government vowed to increase efforts to reduce the road fatalities.

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