The Free State Department of Police, Roads and Transport recorded high volumes of traffic during the festive season. The highest number of vehicles were recorded during Christmas with 1100 cars recorded at the Verkeerdevlei Toll Gate every hour.
About 1010 vehicles per hour were recorded at the same toll gate over New Year’s Day, according to department spokesperson, Hillary Mopethe. The Verkeerdevlei gate is on the N1 road which runs through the province connecting various destinations throughout the country, including Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Mopethe explained that traffic operations would continue into the Easter season. “The department has been operating since 1 December and things will continue until Easter. So the department is busy with various roadblocks, which include all the national roads in the province, as well as those that connect towns,” she said. Mopethe requested that motorists continue to drive with caution. “Please respect the rules of the road, road markings, keep to the speed limit and keep a good following distance.”
Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Sam Mashinini, had stated previously that road blocks would be intensified ahead of the festive season as well as that police visibility would be increased in order to curb criminal activity during this period. He explained that they would stop at nothing to ensure that all those that do not adhere to the rules of our roads would face the full might of the law. The intention was to ensure that Free Staters and those touring the province could enjoy the hospitality and warmth of the Free State.
Unfortunately twelve people died in a tragic accident when a truck that was driving towards Warden collided head on with a Toyota Quantum minibus taxi near Villiers on the N3 road. Mashinini extended condolences to families of the deceased and added, “We would like to appeal to all drivers to do the best they can to stay alert on the road. Avoid all distractions and rest before embarking on any journey.”
The FS Department of Health reported that there were 92 fatal crashes during the holiday season, which resulted in 138 fatalities as well as 283 critically injured people. Mangaung Metro accounted for 19 of these accidents. The MEC of Health, Montseng Tsiu, stated that emergency personnel attended to reported accidents with immediate action. She said they would remain on the alert for increased road traffic volumes expected during the Easter holidays. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele