Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

The South African government has received calls to escalate road safety measures following the release of road traffic statistics for the 2023/24 holiday season, revealing that 1,427 individuals lost their lives on the country’s roads. Despite a 1.7% decrease compared to the previous year’s festive season, where 1,452 lives were claimed, concerns persist, especially regarding nighttime fatalities.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga disclosed the statistics, covering the period from December to January, citing human factors as the leading contributors to accidents at 80.8%. Environmental factors, including heavy rainfall and storms impacting road conditions, contributed 10.4%, while vehicle factors accounted for 8.8%.

Pedestrians constituted the majority of casualties, followed by passengers, drivers, and cyclists aged between 25 and 44. A total of 1,184 crashes were recorded, down from the previous festive season’s 1,212 incidents, attributed to heightened law enforcement operations and increased police visibility across the country.

Over 1.4 million vehicles were stopped and checked during this period, leading to the arrest of 7,820 drivers for offenses such as driving under the influence, reckless driving, producing false documentation, and excessive speeding.

Transport Minister Chikunga highlighted the Eastern Cape as the only province surpassing its targeted reduction in fatalities by at least 18.6%. She emphasized the need for serious engagements with authorities in other provinces.

MEC Ricardo Mackenzie acknowledged that behavioral issues on South African roads persisted, with 56 deaths occurring on provincial roads and 108 on municipal roads. He stressed the ongoing challenge of poor road user behavior, despite significant road safety efforts.

While the Automobile Association (AA) noted slight improvements, it cautioned against celebrating the reduced death toll, emphasizing the need for more comprehensive road safety measures. The AA called for increased law enforcement personnel, sustained education, and awareness campaigns throughout the year to address road safety concerns effectively.

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