Road fatalities increase

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The preliminary mid-festive season report shows that road fatalities have increased in all provinces, except for Gauteng, which has recorded a 10% decrease.

Releasing the preliminary mid-festive season festive report from 1 December, Transport Minister Dr Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande said a total of 767 fatalities have been recorded so far in this festive period, which is a 16% increase on the previous period.

“The highest percentage increase was recorded in the Northern Cape with 71%, followed by Free State with 53% and KwaZulu-Natal with 46%.

“KwaZulu-Natal with 162 fatalities recorded the highest number of fatalities, followed by Gauteng at 125. Limpopo and Eastern Cape had 89 fatalities each, while Mpumalanga had 82, Western Cape 81, Free State 78, North West 57 and Northern Cape 24,” Nzimande said.

The Minister who held a media briefing in Tshwane on Thursday, said the Northern Cape has the lowest number of fatalities although its percentage increase is the highest.

He said the gender mostly affected was men with a contribution of 72% of the total fatalities.

“Very disturbingly, the contribution of females has increased from 23% to 27% while the incidents where the gender could not be determined have been reduced from 5% to 1%,” Nzimande said.

During this period, traffic law enforcement officers conducted more than 356 roadblocks throughout the country and they issued 326 642 fines for various traffic offences.

“Of particular interest is that 10 666 of these fines were for drivers who did not have a driving licence while 9 620 were for drivers who did not fasten seat belts, 8 481 for driving unlicensed vehicles, 5 811 for driving vehicles with worn tyres and 3 039 for overloading of goods,” the Minister said.

A total of 1 402 un-roadworthy vehicles were suspended or discontinued while 1 310 other motor vehicles were impounded.

“To clamp down on drunken driving, speed and other moving violation, the officers arrested more about 2 837 motorists and 1109 of them, which is 39% was for drunken driving.

“A total of five drivers were arrested for driving at excessive speeds of between 189 km per hour to well over 200 km per hour. The highest speedster was arrested in the Free State travelling at 228 km an hour on the N3 near Warden,” he said.

Pedestrian fatalities were recorded at 33%, while drivers constituted 31% and the status of 1% was undetermined.

“Collisions involving jay-walking pedestrians have increased to 44% this year, followed by hit and run (17%) as well as speeds that were too high for circumstances (14%) and overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic (10%),” the Minister said.

According to Nzimande, a total number of 34 minibus vehicles were involved in fatal collisions since the start of the festive season, while 44 trucks were involved in deadly collisions.

“These vehicles were involved in single vehicle overturning, head-on and head to rear collisions which strongly suggests that drivers were unable to control the vehicles due to fatigue and the vehicles veered onto oncoming traffic or they were unable to stop the vehicles on time to avoid collisions because of high speed,” Nzimande said.

He said many vehicles involved in fatal crashes had a high number of occupants and with most crashes occurring between 7pm and 8pm and between 10pm and 11pm.

Since 1 December, the majority of crashes happened on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

“Light motor cars contributed 47% to the total crashes followed by light delivery vehicles at a contribution of 21% and minibus vehicles with a contribution of 7% and trucks 5%,” the Minister said.

Adhere to rules of the road

The Minister has called on all road users to adhere to the rules of the road, drive within the set speed limit and use their seatbelts.

He also encouraged road users to avoid the use of cell phones while driving, to use roadworthy vehicles, take regular stops to avoid fatigue and avoid the use of alcohol while driving.

“Law enforcement operation will be stepped up and public safety campaigns up scaled to turn the situation around,” Nzimande said.

The Minister announced specific interventions that will be implemented in an effort to make the county's roads safer. These include:

  • Intensifying law enforcement operations on key travelling dates with a specific focus on speeding, drunken driving and the wearing of seatbelts.
  • The activation of more half way stations for the management of fatigue. This must be targeted at long distance public transport vehicles.
  • An urgent meeting with the Department of Justice and the National Prosecution Authority to ensure that serious cases involving violations of traffic law are prosecuted expeditiously to send a strong message to errant road users that there is a zero tolerance to transgressions of road rules.
  • In the long-term, the Department of Transport wants to have an engagement with the Department of Trade and Industry to review the trading hours of taverns and restaurants where liquor is sold.
  • Cross-border operations will be strengthened to deal with the high incidents of cross-border minibus vehicles that are overloaded with both passengers and goods.