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Spike in NC Easter road deaths

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This is according to the Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande, who released the 2018 Preliminary Easter Road Safety Report

CARNAGE: Atotal of 27 people died on the Province's roads over the Easter period

THE NORTHERN Cape had the highest increase in fatalities over the Easter period, with a total of 27 people dying on the Province’s roads.

Nationally, 520 fatalities were recorded from March 29 to April 9, an increase of 14% over the 449 who died in the same period last year.

This is according to the Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande, who released the 2018 Preliminary Easter Road Safety Report yesterday.

According to Nzimande, the highest increases in fatalities was recorded by the Northern Cape followed by the North West and Limpopo, while the highest decrease was recorded by Mpumalanga followed by the Free State.

Nzimande pointed out that four major crashes – two of them in KwaZulu-Natal, in Greytown and Taylor’s Halt, and the other two in Limpopo, in Diperere village and near Mabula Lodge in the Waterfall district – together claimed 35 lives and left 26 people injured.

“The truck drivers’ strike on Monday April 2 also added complexity in that it resulted in the total shutdown of the N3 and all alternative routes in Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal which is one of the busiest days in this period. This led to more than five hours delay for motorists.”

Nzimande added that when analysing the preliminary report, what stood out is that road crashes affected the poor and working class disproportionately more than other groups.

“This Easter there was a noticeable shift towards the rural poor who use the roads as pedestrians. The number of pedestrians affected by fatalities increased from 33.8% in 2017 to 37.3% this year.”

An increase was also recorded in the number of drivers killed, from 20.5% in 2017 to 25.6 %. Passengers were the only user group that experienced a significant decline, from 43% in 2017 to 35.5% this year.

“Of concern is the increase in the number of young children and middle-aged individuals who died as pedestrians on the roads. Children between nought and four years of age recorded an increase of 4.9%, from 2.6% in 2017 to 7.5% in 2018. Middle-aged individuals between the ages of 50 and 54 also recorded a sharp increase from 1.3% in 2017 to 8.4% in 2018.”

The preliminary report shows that the main contributory factors to road fatalities related to human behaviour, with male drivers accounting for 71.1% of fatalities and females for 24.1%.

In 2018, human factor contributed 89.5% to the crashes as compared to the 74.3% in 2017.

The number of jaywalking pedestrians killed on South African roads also increased to 38% as compared to 25.2% in 2017, although the number of hit-and-runs decreased by 16.1%.

“It is very concerning that some unwarranted behaviours continued unabated and this has been ably demonstrated by the successful arrests of 6 435 drivers who were caught speeding, 3 208 drivers driving unlicensed vehicles, 300 drivers without driving licences,
2 344 drivers without fastening seat belts and 1 698 drivers driving vehicles with worn tires.”

The highest speedsters were arrested for driving at 224km/* at the N3 Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal, followed by Free State at the N3 Warden with 208km/* , followed by Gauteng at the N12 Tom Jones in Benoni at 206km/* .

According to the report, most crashes happened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 5pm and 8pm.

Nzimande added the RTMC, together will all provinces, would develop a road safety plan focusing on the main contributory factors of crashes such as pedestrians, impaired driving, dangerous driving and occupant safety.