SA road deaths spike as extra public holiday puts officials on high alert

2016-12-21 08:16 - Selene Brophy
Post a comment 0

<B>HERE WE GO AGAIN:</B> Drunk drivers beware these December holidays as the Minister of Transport has issued warnings for the 2016 festive season. <I>Image: Arrive Alive</I>

Cape Town - The extra public holiday on Tuesday 27 December will increase the risks on SA’s roads, says Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, who has called for all road-users to be alert over the peak holiday season.

The number of people who have died on the country's roads since the start of December is already higher than last year, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday.

“There are 845 fatalities recorded since 1- 19 December 2016, with an increase of 17% in comparison to the previous year’s same period,” the minister said in a statement.

“Road deaths and injuries are sudden, violent, traumatic with the impact which is long-lasting and often permanent. The festive season period is generally characterised by high traffic volumes in different routes of South Africa with fatalities over this period remaining unacceptably high,” says Peters.

Stats indicate there has already been a 16% increase in fatal car crashes during this year’s festive period – with 684 deadly accidents recorded thus far. Eighty two percent of the accidents were caused by human error.  

SEE: Road Safety 101: Keep the festive spirit alive on these high volume roads 

The number of accidents increased in every province except the Northern Cape which recordeda decrease of four accidents – as well as the Eastern Cape and Western Cape which have stabilised at the same number as in 2015 during the festive period.

Similarly, the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape and Gauteng recorded lower fatality statistics - Read News24 full report here.

All other provinces recorded more deaths on the road compared to this time last year. Limpopo and Mpumalanga have proved the most deadly in terms of increased deaths following from accidents. The number of fatalities in Limpopo increased by 63 and in Mpumalanga by 44.

Apart from the national industry shutdown and school holidays, the period is also characterised by religious pilgrimages and mass events. The risk is higher this year because of the 23rd to 27th December 2016, including the New Year’s Eve weekend.

High alert for extra holiday over peak period

The department has already activated its road safety campaign, which will be in place throughout January 2017.

 “The Department of Transport together with all our Road Entities is on high alert to protect and serve all road users. Alone we might not be strong enough, but we now stand together with our social partners to declare that road crashes, fatalities and injuries can be stopped.”    

“Let us use the festive season to reaffirm our commitment to the UN Decades of Action for Road Safety which seeks to stabilise and reduce road fatalities by 50% in 2020. Let us be more considerate in word and in deed.

“I am appealing to all South African to note that those who do drunk driving, excessive speeding, negligent and the overall transgression of the National Traffic Act and Traffic Regulations will be punished.

“ Let us respect each other on the road and be responsible road users.”

Stick to these essential road rules and arrive alive:

-       Don’t drink and drive

-       Wear seat belts

-       Don’t text and drive

-       Don’t drink and walk

-       Don’t speed

-       Be responsible and you will arrive alive 

SEE: MAP: SA's national roads peak season routes and times

What to read next on Traveller24:

The SA Festive Guide You Shouldn't Leave Home Without

Get Festive: New Year's Eve Events to check out in SA