The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has called on law enforcement authorities to intensify drunk driving operations in an effort to make it difficult for intoxicated drivers to use public roads.
This appeal comes after five people died and one was injured when two vehicles collided in Benoni on Tuesday night.
“Both drivers are suspected to have been under the influence of alcohol when one driver went into a curve at a speed not suitable for road conditions and collided head-on with another vehicle,” RTMC said on Wednesday.
Research conducted by the corporation in collaboration with the South African Medical Research Council and the University of South Africa shows that driver alcohol intoxication accounts for 27.1% of fatal crashes in the country. This is estimated to cost the economy R18.2 billion annually.
“Drunk driving operations should be prioritised during the night, weekends and throughout the year as evidence shows that 55% of fatal crashes happen at night, about three out of five happen over the weekends and 70% happen during non-vacation periods,” said the corporation.
Research indicates that the risk for crashes involving other road users, such as pedestrians and other motorists, increases significantly when a driver is drunk.
Pedestrians are three times likely to die in a crash where a driver was intoxicated.
“Compared to speeding and other driver related factors, intoxicated driving has been found to pose a greater risk for light motor vehicle and public transport vehicles than vehicles transporting goods,” RTMC said.
The South African Police Service and Ekurhuleni Metro Police are investigating the cause of the Benoni crash.