“Disappointing” increase in Easter Weekend road deaths

South Africa recorded an increase in fatalities during the Easter Weekend with 225 people losing their lives on the roads this year when compared to the 161 fatalities that were recorded in the same period last year.

Addressing members of the media on Friday, Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga, expressed disappointment at the high rate of crashes, which showed that 185 crashes were recorded this year when compared to 135 fatal crashes during the same period last year.

“Human factor, which include reckless and negligent driving, was the most prominent contributing factor in all fatalities at 96.2 followed by road and environmental factors at 4.5% while vehicle factors were the least contributor at 1.1%.

“The unacceptably high contribution of human factors reflects poor driving habits of our motorists and is also a reflection of the high number of incompetent drivers on the roads,” the Minister said at the Waterfall driving licensing testing centre (DLTC) on Friday.

The high number of road users who died on the country’s roads were pedestrians, who accounted for 44.4% of all fatalities, followed by passengers at 27.7%.  Drivers accounted for 25.6%, cyclists at 1.3% while the road user status of 1% could not be determined.

“The highest number of fatalities occurred on Friday (7 April) and the lowest number was recorded on Thursday 6 (April). Most of the fatalities that occurred between 3pm and 10pm were predominantly characterised by hit and run crashes, single vehicle overturns, pedestrian collisions and head on collisions.

“An increase in fatalities was recorded in all provinces except in Mpumalanga, Western Cape and the North West and we congratulate these provinces for the work well done,” the Minister said.

The statistics on gender classification from 6 April until 10 April indicate that there was a decrease in female fatalities from 28% in 2022 to 19% in 2023 while male fatalities increased from 67% in 2022 to 70%.

Traffic Volumes

Reports from the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) toll gates indicated an increased traffic volume on the major highways leading to and from Gauteng.

“At the start of the Easter weekend on Thursday, SANRAL recorded an average of 2 000 vehicles an hour passing through the toll gates. The highest volume of 2 287 vehicles an hour was recorded between 4pm and 5pm at Pumwani Plaza on the N1 towards Limpopo.

“At the end of the Easter weekend on Monday, 10 April 2023, the highest traffic volume was recorded between 5pm and 6pm, when 3 244 vehicles were recorded passing through the Pumlani Plaza into Gauteng,” the Minister said.

Law enforcement officials issued 30 934 traffic fines; 430 vehicles were discontinued because of road unworthiness related issues; 1 625 were impounded for displaying invalid or fake discs, and operating in violation of permits; while 1 716 drivers were arrested for excessive speeding, drunken driving, reckless and negligent driving, and operating public transport without permits.

The top five traffic offences identified were speeding, driving unlicensed vehicles, driving without fastening seatbelts, driving without licences, and driving vehicles with worn out tyres.

“The worst speedster was nabbed on the N1 near Lyttleton in Centurion, Gauteng, driving at an excessive speed of 198 kilometres per hour in a 120-kilometre zone.  The worst drunken driving incident was recorded in the central business district of Harrismith in the Free State when a driver recorded 1.16 milligrams of alcohol in 1 000 millilitres of breath. This was 4.8 times more than the legal limit of 0.24 mg in 1 000 ml of breath,” the Minister said.

Chikunga affirmed that government remains resolute in turning the tide on the carnage on the roads.

“We are continuing to strengthen measures which seek to make our roads safer. In addition, we continue to learn invaluable lessons and will use these to bolster our traffic law enforcement interventions.

“In this regard, we will be rolling out the 365-day road safety campaign with renewed vigour and determination. We owe this not only to ourselves but to the next generation that must inherit a better place than we found. We have instructed our traffic officers to enforce the law.

“We have taken strides that have brought us closer to classifying traffic policing as an essential service of a 7-day, 24-hour job across the country – a move which will transform the face of traffic law enforcement and ensure sustained visibility on the roads,” the Minister said. – SAnews.gov.za


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