Mpuma records fewer road accidents over Easter

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mbombela - The number of road accidents in Mpumalanga during the provincial Easter road safety campaign dropped from 97 last year to 59 this year, say authorities.

Public Works, Roads and Transport Department spokesperson, David Nkambule, said accidents dropped by 39.17 percent, but that 10 more people died this year than last year.

"The overall number of fatalities has increased by 32.25 percent. The fatalities recorded over the Easter Weekend in 2011 are 31, when compared to the 21 recorded in the previous year," said Nkambule.

He blamed the increase on an April 22 accident in Ngodwana, in which 12 people died when their taxi, which was coming from Johannesburg, collided head-on with a minibus from Mozambique.

Nkambule said the 31 road accident victims included 10 drivers, 17 passengers and four pedestrians.

The pedestrian fatality rate dropped from seven in 2010 to four in 2011, a 42.85 percent decrease.

Nkambule said the Easter road safety campaign was generally successful. "The department has managed to decrease the number of serious injuries and slight injuries... Serious injuries have dropped from 96 in 2010 to 91 in 2011. This is a 5.20 percent decrease."

Nkambule said minor injuries had dropped from 87 in 2010 to 62 in 2011, which represents a 28.73 percent decrease.

The province recorded zero fatalities or injuries for cyclists both in 2010 and 2011.

Nkambule said law enforcement had also played a huge role in the reduction of accidents during the Easter Weekend, which ended on May 1.

"During the operations, a total of 16 381 road users were [fined in connection] with offences that include, amongst others, speeding, reckless driving and driving without a license. [A total of] 14 462 of the offences were for speeding," Nkambule said.

Nkambule added that 20 drivers were arrested for drinking and driving, while 117 unroadworthy vehicles were discontinued.

He said the department also impounded 795 taxis that were not licensed to operate. The owners paid a total of R1 987 500 in fines, which amounted to R2 500 per vehicle.

"The success in the decrease of road accidents is as a result of vigorous law enforcement activities and safety awareness. This has been done through a number of rest stops, road blocks, road shows and alert stops that were conducted since the start of the Easter Weekend," said Nkambule.