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241 killed at Easter

Preliminary figures indicate that at least 241 people died in road accidents over the Easter holiday, Transport Minister Ben Martins said on Monday. A total of 201 fatal crashes were recorded during the Easter break, he told reporters in Pretoria. “It is regrettable and [a] sad reality that this year’s preliminary road fatality figure is higher than that of last year, which was 217 as a result of 181 fatal crashes.

“The final figures will be released once the SA Police Service and the traffic officials have reconciled the available information,” he said. Martins said most of the people who died were pedestrians. “Many passengers also lost their lives because they do not use safety belts. Only two percent of passengers use safety belts compared to 60 percent of drivers,” he said.

He said campaigns would now be launched to ensure all passengers, including rear seat passengers, buckled up. Martins said 250,000 vehicles were stopped during the holiday, and that 79,056 fines were issued. He said 1,039 licences were suspended and 1024 vehicles were impounded. “A total of 864 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Approximately 600 of these motorists 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, said Martins. SAPA

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