“The carnages we continue to experience on our roads are instigated by a number of factors mostly embedded in human behaviour and vehicle factors”
A TOTAL of 42 people died in road accidents in the Northern Cape over the festive season.
This is according to the preliminary Festive Season Road Safety Report, presented yesterday by Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Transport.
According to Nzimande, nationally 1 612 people lost their lives on South African roads during the festive season from December 1 to January 8.
Gauteng and the North West were the only provinces that recorded percentage decreases in the number of fatalities. “Gauteng recorded a commendable 19 percent decrease while the North West recorded a two percent decrease.”
“The carnages we continue to experience on our roads are instigated by a number of factors mostly embedded in human behaviour and vehicle factors,” Nzimande stated.
Some of the factors he highlighted were alcohol and substance abuse, reckless and negligent driving, unroadworthy vehicles, overtaking on blind rises, barrier lines and in areas of poor visibility, a total disregard for rules of the road, corruption, distracted driving where drivers used cellphones while driving, lack of courtesy towards other road users, failure to use seatbelts and child restraints, overloading, fatigue caused by failure to rest at periodic intervals and stray animals on the roads.
The highest number of fatalities was recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, with 267 deaths, followed by Gauteng with 208 and the Eastern Cape with 195.
Pedestrian fatalities showed a 2% decrease from 37% last year to 35% this year while driver fatalities remained at 27 % and cyclists at 2%.
The preliminary figures for this past festive season indicate that South Africans have managed to reduce crashes and fatalities from what it was at mid-point of the festive period.
“At the mid-point of the season in December last year, we reported that crashes had increased by 5% and fatalities by 16%. We managed to reduce crashes by 2% and 7% for fatalities,” he said.
The reduction was a result of the increased law enforcement operations, the introduction of the 24/7 shift as well as the roll-out of the Evidential Breath Alcohol Test (EBAT) to deal with drinking and driving.
According to the report, at least 36% of people dying from road-related incidents were passengers. This in an increase from the 34% recorded last year.
Nzimande expressed concern about the involvement of trucks and minibus vehicles in major horrific road crashes
“Evidence has also shown that drivers from our neighbouring countries were also involved in serious and flagrant violations of road traffic rules by excessively overloading their vehicles and driving unroadworthy vehicles that pose a risk to other road users.”
A total of 54 lives were lost in these crashes and the Free State province was the worst affected, according to Nzimande.
“We will be engaging with their governments through the SADC Secretariat and other continental bodies with similar jurisdictions to ensure that we get their co-operation in dealing with the matter.
“In addition, I have directed the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to conduct thorough investigations in each of the driving licence and testing centres (DLTCs) where South African nationals involved in these major crashes obtained their licences,” he added.