Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters released the festive season road crash and fatality figures for the year 2016/17 on Tuesday.
Minister Dipuo Peters unpacked the figures of those who died on the road during December 2016 to this month,the announcement detailed the different provinces’ fatalities, motorists and pedestrian deaths.
Initial figures released just before the end of the year suggested figures might be higher than the previous year because at that time,recorded deaths on the roads were already high.
Minister Peters said “competence of drivers leaves much to be desired”.
The department in this season conducted 432 roadblocks, 6085 vehicles were considered un-roadworthy and were then suspended or discontinued. A number of vehicles 2501 were impounded. Officials arrested 9175 for speeding and drunk driving, 5943 was for drunk drivers making it 65%.
An overall number of road fatalities was 1714 which was a 5% increase from last year. Kwa-Zulu Natal, Gauteng , Eastern Cape and Limpopo has a 61% total number of people that died. Limpopo had an increased number of deaths of 31% moving from 186 to 244 from the previous year.
A large number of males between the ages of 25-40 years old died 75% while females decreased by 2% meaning from 25% to 23%. Black people had a high death rate of 81% .
In five provinces statistics increased namely Gauteng , Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Free State. While North West, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Western Cape showed a decrease to the number of deaths.
Minister Peters said that many factors contributed to these findings such as the back to back long weekends and rainy weather. She said that it was evident that a number of passengers showed that they do not wear their seat belts which contributed to their early deaths.
There are however measures that are put in place to ensure that South African road users are qualified with the proper documentation to be driving on the roads.
“I have instructed RTMC to audit how drivers licenses are processed”, said Minister Peters.
Another way she suggested was to take stops to avoid fatigue when driving long distances. The department is working to ensuring people do not get bail easily.
Minister Peters stated that weekdays and weekends will be used as practise for the upcoming public holidays so that they can continue to improve road safety and also they will be providing resources to struggling provinces.
Minister Peters urged taxi drivers and taxi industry that they should do more to ensure road safety and passengers safety.
Furthermore Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesperson Simon Zwane said that the minister’s results will see whether plans implemented to control and prevent road accidents during the festive season was accurate as it was based on the travelling patterns of commuters for that season.
Zwane explained that in addition to drunk driving, unqualified drivers, and speeding drivers added to the road accidents on roads.
“The measures to improve safety and are implemented the whole year. If people are not travelling during the year then we cannot deploy cars in those routes” said Zwane.
Meanwhile the #RideWiseCampaign is an ongoing 365 day program, the statistics that were released are from December 2016 till January 9, 2017.