The joy of Christmas is darkened by so many lives lost on the road this festive season. Nationally, a total of 1 714 fatalities were recorded this festive period, which is a 5% increase compared to the previous period.
The Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters, released the preliminary 2016/17 festive season road safety statistics on Tuesday, 10 January 2017, at the Protea Hotel, Midrand, Johannesburg.
Minister Peters conveyed her heartfelt condolences to the families who lost loved ones during this period and sent well wishes to all those who are still recuperating in hospitals as well as at home.
MEASURES TO PROMOTE SAFETY
In December 2016, the Department of Transport, its agencies and stakeholder partners announced various measures to be undertaken to promote the safety of people on our roads throughout the festive season. As part of these measures, the Cabinet also called upon South Africans to observe and obey the rules of the road.
A significant amount of financial resources were invested to promote awareness, intensify enforcement and up-scale general visibility. Public Education and Awareness campaigns were launched and some are still running across different media platforms.
ROADBLOCKS & OVER 450 000 FINES
Traffic law enforcement officers conducted more than 432 roadblocks throughout the country during the festive period and issued 453 263 fines for various traffic offences. Of particular interest is that 28 238 of these fines were for drivers who failed to wear seatbelts while 4 046 were for using cell phones while driving. About 6 805 un-roadworthy vehicles were suspended or discontinued while 2 501 additional motor vehicles were impounded.
DRUNKEN DRIVING AND SPEED
To clamp down on drunken driving, speed and other moving violation, the officers arrested about 9 175 motorists and 5 943 of them, which is 65%, was for drunken driving.
A total of 18 drivers were arrested for driving at excessive speeds of between 182 km per hour to well above 200 km per hour. The highest speedster was arrested in Gauteng travelling at 239km per hour in a Mercedes Benz on the R21 near Tshwane. The latest speedster appeared in court on Monday, 9 January 2017 after he was arrested travelling at 207km per hour.
According to Minister Peters, driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to wear seatbelts, using cell-phones while driving, excessive speeding, disregarding road conditions and signs – reflect a negative attitude that many motorists have towards the rules of the road.
The period under review saw the introduction of 253 478 additional vehicles, which represent a 2% increase and 506 387 new drivers into our road network representing 4% increase.
Preliminary statistics show that road fatalities increased in five (5) provinces and declined in four (4) provinces. The Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape and the North West Provinces reflected a decline in road fatalities.
Nationally, a total of 1 714 fatalities were recorded this festive period, which is a 5% increase compared to the previous period.
“What is alarming, is that the four provinces of KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Limpopo, jointly accounted for 61% of the total number of people who died on the roads in this period,” Minister Peters said.
PEDESTRIANS, DRIVERS AND CYCLISTS
This year a high number of passengers died on the roads compared to the previous period when pedestrians constituted a high number of fatalities among road user groups. Passengers constituted 40% of fatalities, pedestrians 34%, drivers 24% and cyclists 2%.
Children aged from 0-4 contributed to 6% of pedestrian deaths.
Light motor cars contributed 49% to the total crashes followed by light delivery vehicles at a contribution of 18% and minibus vehicles with a contribution of 10%.
In her speech, Minister Peters said, “It is more befitting and appropriate in a situation of this nature, confronted with this unparalleled and a mixture of misfortunes, agony, misery and pain caused by irresponsible human behaviour – to take head of the words of one of the renowned leaders and human rights activist Malcom X who once retorted, ‘There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, Every loss, contains its own seed, Its own lesson, how to improve your performance the next time.’”
We extend our sincerest condolences to the family and friends who lost their loved ones during this time.
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