Pretoria � The National Department of Transport says the country's major routes experienced very high numbers of traffic volumes on Easter Monday.
This, as people were returning from their holidays and religious pilgrimages at the end of a long weekend.
The department said the following are the figures of vehicles that were recorded passing through National roads on Monday:
N1: 75 216 -- Average number of vehicles per hour: 6 268
N3: 54 636 -- Average number of vehicles per hour: 4 553
N4: 33 207 -- Average number of vehicles per hour: 2 767
N2: 22 441 -- Average number of vehicles per hour: 1 870
N12: 6 302 -- Average number of vehicles per hour: 525
The department said it will issue the 24 hour traffic volume figures later today.
The department said all Gauteng bound national routes were extremely congested on Monday especially the N1, N2, N3, N4, N12 and N17.
This congestion will be the climax of this Easter weekend as it comes to an end also marking the end of school holidays.
On Thursday, the eve of Good Friday, the N1 carried about 172 283 vehicles in 24 hours; N2 with 73 621 vehicles; N3 with 136 094 vehicles; N4 with 129 489 vehicles and N12 with 45 988 vehicles. This brought a total of just over 500 000 vehicles on these national routes, said the department.
With Gauteng schools opening on Tuesday, the department envisaged that each and every national route leading to Gauteng would carry over 130 000 vehicles on average with the gradual traffic volume increase from morning until the evening.
The department reminded road users that road crash's costs to the economy with regard to car repairs, insurance claims, medical costs and funeral costs, amongst others, is over R142 billion, which translates to about 3.4% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Drivers must stick to the speed limit and obey the rules of the road. All vehicle occupants must wear seatbelts. Younger children must be put on child restraint car seats at all times while the car is in motion, said the department.
Meanwhile, the department has expressed its heartfelt condolences to the families who lost their loved ones on the N7 head on collision, where eight people perished in the Western Cape.
Our thoughts are also with the families who lost their loved ones due to reckless driving this Easter weekend, said the department.
The department has also wished a speedy recovery to those who were injured in various car crashes since the start of the Easter weekend.
The bus crash on P-15 between Kranskop and Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday resulted in 14 fatalities. The department said this is once again a stark reminder that the road deaths are not just numbers, but there is a human face behind every statistic, there is a breadwinner behind every statistic, there is parent and child behind every statistic.
In the bus crash, at least 14 people we killed, about four were critically injured and continue to be under hospital care, while about seven others sustained minor injuries.
The victims and their families are therefore in our thoughts during these difficult and trying times, said the department.
The department said it has dispatched its agencies such as the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to investigate some of the crashes, as well as the Road Accident Fund (RAF) to assist the families with the necessary claims.
It said the KZN Provincial Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison has dispatched a multi-disciplinary team which consists of the South African Police Service (SAPS) collision unit, Road Traffic Inspectorate and Public Transport Enforcement Services to investigate and assist with this particular bus crash.
Arrest of drunk drivers
The department said the RTMC law enforcement operation has arrested an alarming number of drunk drivers and road speedsters over the Easter weekend.
Our traffic police have also impounded a sizeable number of roadworthy vehicles. Though the consolidated figures will be released after Easter, we have ensured that those detected twice while speeding on the same route are also arrested.
We can no longer tolerate habitual traffic offenders. We therefore call upon the judiciary to impose stiffer sentences to perpetual traffic offenders, said the department.
About 18 000 traffic officers were deployed countrywide over the Easter weekend through the RTMC.
Source: South African Government News Agency