Festive road deaths increase

Midrand � This festive season has seen an increase in the number of people who died on South African roads compared to the previous period, says Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.

A total of 1 714 fatalities were recorded in this festive period which is a 5% increase on the previous period, Minister Peters said on Tuesday.

The Minister was releasing the official 2016/17 festive season and road crash figures during a media briefing in Midrand.

She said contributing factors to the road accidents were human factors, vehicle factors, as well as road and environmental factors.

We have come from one of the most challenging festive seasons which stretched our resources to the limit, which also put a strain on our law enforcement operations and unleashed untold misery on many families, Minister Peters said.

Limpopo recorded the highest increase, with 244 fatalities compared to the previous period where 186 fatalities were recorded.

The Eastern Cape recorded the biggest decline in fatalities with 211 deaths recorded which is a decline compared to the same period last year when it had 265 fatalities.

What is alarming is that four provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Limpopo jointly accounted for 61% of the total number of people who died on the roads in this period.

This year we have seen a high number of passengers dying on the roads compared to the previous period when pedestrians constituted a high number of fatalities among road user groups, Minister Peters said.

The North West recorded 8% in fatalities, while the Western Cape figures stood at 6% and the Northern Cape at 5%.

Passengers constituted 40% of fatalities, pedestrians 34%, drivers 24% and cyclists 2%. Children aged from zero to age four contributed to 6% of pedestrian deaths.

She said the fact that an overwhelming majority of fatal crashes were as a result of a single motor vehicle overturning and head-on collisions points to the incompetence of drivers to handle their motor vehicles.

There is an influx on our roads of drivers who are not competent and qualified to be driving on our roads.

I have instructed the Road Traffic Management Corporation to undertake an audit of how driving licenses as well as road safety certificates are processed and issued in our testing stations, so that we can have an appreciation of how it is possible that so many incompetent drivers and un-roadworthy vehicles could be on our roads, Minister Peters said.

On the basis of the findings, it is expected that affected individuals will be called back for re-evaluation.

Traffic law enforcement officers conducted more than 400 roadblocks throughout the country during this festive season period, issuing 453 263 fines for various traffic offences.

Of particular interest is that 28 238 of these fines were for drivers who failed to wear their seatbelts, while 4 046 were for using cellphones while driving.

About 6 805 un-roadworthy vehicles were suspended or discontinued while 2 501 other motor vehicles were impounded.

Officers arrested 9 175 motorists and 5 943 of them were held for drunken driving.

A total of 18 drivers were arrested for driving at excessive speeds of between 182km/h to above 200km/h.

Source: South Afican Government News Agency

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