The Western Cape government is planning tougher measures, including much higher fines, to curb drunk driving on its roads, with action starting during the Easter weekend.

The Western Cape government is planning tougher measures, including much higher fines, to curb drunk driving on its roads, with action starting during the Easter weekend.

Transport MEC Tasneem Essop said a provincial cabinet committee would meet on Wednesday to compile suggestions for tougher action. “Drinking and driving is like aiming a loaded pistol at someone. If it goes off, it claims a life,” Essop said.

“Our new campaign will start during the Easter weekend, but will be sustained throughout the year and will not be applied only during holiday times, because we have found that the most deaths due to drunk driving take place in June and July,” Essop said.

National Safety and Security minister Charles Nqakula released details of drunk driving in Parliament last week.

A total of 25 777 cases of drunk driving were reported in 2001, of which 8 675 were involved in accidents.

Most of the cases were in Gauteng with 6 485, followed by the Western Cape with 4 861, KwaZulu-Natal with 4 149 and Eastern Cape with 3 996.

The latest available figures are for January to March 2002. Gauteng, which has a population of eight million, the second highest in the country, had 1 375 incidents of drunk driving, of which 505 led to accidents.

The Western Cape had 1 234 incidents of drunk driving and, of these, 436 led to accidents. It is the fourth most populated province in the country (4,3 million people).

KwaZulu-Natal, which has the highest population count of 9,1 million, held 736 people for drunk driving during the same period, of which 241 were involved in accidents.