Strict law enforcement sees drop in Easter death toll

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pretoria - The significant drop in the number of fatalities this past Easter weekend is an indication that law enforcement authorities were winning in their efforts to curb road deaths.

Releasing the final statistics for the 2009 Arrive Alive Easter campaign on Thursday, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe said the national drop in roads deaths from 297 in 2008 to 197 this year was the result of tighter law enforcement.

"As government, we have provided leadership and contributed resources to improving road safety, including developing and enforcing laws, providing safer roads, informing the public about road safety issues and fostering improvements in vehicle safety," the minister said.

He thanked the Road Traffic Management Corporation, provincial departments responsible for traffic management and the Metro Police for their "tireless" efforts during this past Easter weekend.

"I am certain they will continue with the sterling work and build on the positives that have emerged," said Minister Radebe.

According to the statistics, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape recorded the highest successes with fatalities for both provinces dropping by 40 percent and 72 percent respectively as compared to the previous year.

Gauteng recorded a decrease of 18 percent, bringing down the number of people who died on the province's roads from 44 during Easter 2008 to 26 in 2009.

In Limpopo, 41 people died as compared to 35 recorded in the same period of the previous year. North West was the only province to show an increase in fatalities with deaths up from 20 in 2008 to 23 this year.

The minister said the statistics indicate that the majority of accidents were caused by reckless driving which included high speed, unlawful and unsafe overtaking, hit and run as well as drunken driving. Other contributory factors were tyre bursts prior to crash and faulty brakes.

The annual economic cost of road crashes in South Africa, he said, was estimated at R56 billion.

"For most people this staggering figure has little impact or meaning mainly because costs are distributed across the community," said Mr Radebe.