South Africa has recorded a 10-percent decrease in road deaths this past festive season. Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, announced these figures, that show a decline for a period starting 1 December 2019 and ending 15 January 2020 when schools re-opened.
“In total the number of fatal crashes were reduced by three percent from 1438 in 2018/19 to 1390 in 2019/2020. This resulted in a 10 percent reduction in the number of fatalities from 1789 fatalities in 2018/19 to 1617 fatalities in 2019/2020 festive season. The province that recorded the highest reduction in fatalities is the Free State, which experienced a 35% decline followed by Mpumalanga with 23% decline and Western Cape with 19% decline.
The North West recorded a 16% decline, Northern Cape 13% decline, Eastern Cape 7% decline and KwaZulu-Natal 5%. Increases were recorded in Limpopo where fatalities increased by 12% and in Gauteng where they increased by 1%,” said Mbalula. “As a consequence, 111 people died on the roads in the Free State, 144 in Mpumalanga, 136 in Western Cape, 110 in North West, 49 in Northern Cape, 242 in Eastern Cape, 354 in KwaZulu-Natal, 217 in Limpopo and 254 in Gauteng. Officers from the Free State, Mpumalanga and Western Cape deserve awards for a job well done. Their sterling work assisted us to meet the target we had set for ourselves this year,” the minister said.
Mbalula said the reduction of road deaths was also partly because his department increased the number of roadblocks and police visibility during this period. “Premised on these efforts, the number of vehicles that were stopped and checked over the festive period increased from 1.3million in the previous period to 1.5million. Roadblocks conducted nationwide increased from 775 previously to 1924.
More than 573 147 motorists were issued with traffic fines. The number of traffic fines issued decreased by 191 862 as a result of increased compliance with road regulations by motorists,” he said. “The most common offences for which traffic fines were issued were: speeding at 58 669 fines, driving without a licence with 26 516 fines, driving without fastening a seatbelt accounted for 25 786 fines, driving unlicensed vehicles at 32 481 and fines for driving cars with worn tyres were 13 311,” he added. Mbalula said major contributors to fatal crashes this festive season are pedestrians, while minibus taxis recorded the least crashes.
“Our analysis further demonstrates that the main causes of fatal crashes over this period were pedestrians, single vehicle overturning, hit and run and head-on collisions. Vehicles mostly involved in fatal crashes were light motorcars at 42%, light delivery vehicles at 20% and minibuses or kombis at 9%. The fact that minibuses have contributed less than ten percent to the fatal crashes confirms the success of Operation Hlokomela, which is an initiative of the taxi industry and again shows that law enforcement operations focused on the public transport are bearing fruit,” said the minister, who himself was visible during road safety operations.
“The majority of road users who died on the roads were pedestrians (40%), passengers (34%), drivers (25%) and cyclists (1%)”, he added.