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Pretoria – The number of road crashes and fatalities between 1 December and 28 December have decreased slightly compared to last year.

“We have registered 924 fatal crashes with 1143 fatalities, whilst last year during the same period under review we registered 974 fatal crashes with 1168 fatalities,” Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday.

According to the latest road crash statistics for the busy festive season period, fatal crashes have decreased by 50 and fatalities were reduced by 25.

Thirty-one percent of fatal crashes occurred between 10pm and 6am, with 80 percent of the crashes occurring in residential and or built-up areas.

Minister Peters released the latest December road crash statistics on Tuesday at a media briefing in Durban.

“These figures tell a very unpleasant and discouraging story about our human conduct in the usage of our roads,” she said.

Minister Peters said the Department of Transport had issued 99 060 summons for exceeding the speed limit, arrested 415 people for excessive speeding with the highest speed recorded being 265km/h.

“The substance abuse in particular drunken driving remains a major challenge. During the period under review we arrested 904 drivers who were driving under the influence of alcohol and had exceeded the required limit,” she said.

Minister Peters appealed to motorists to be vigilant and take precautions on the road as many South Africans will soon be returning from their holiday destinations.

She said the department would upscale efforts to work and partner with the youth in rolling out road safety programmes.

“We will also leave no stone unturned in partnering and urging the owners of liquor outlets, especially in residential areas, to work and collaborate in ensuring that their patrons are safe and do not become statistics,” Minister Peters said. –