Festive season is always chilling on our roads. We are always hoping and praying that our loved ones are safe on our national roads. Reports of less road fatalities came as a huge relief for most South Africans this festive season.
Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula announced that there had been approximately 160 fewer fatal road crashes and about 250 fewer deaths recorded since the beginning of the festive season this year compared to last year.
According to the road safety statistics, 656 fatal crashes were recorded last year and only 489 this year. 839 people were recorded to have died on our roads in 2018 but we only had 589 recorded deaths this year during the same period.
This has shown that all the extra precautions and laws that the South African Law Enforcement had put into place over the festive season was not in vain and actually continued to have the desired impact.
All provinces showed a reduction in fatalities:
- Gauteng recorded 95 fatalities, compared to 133 last year;
- KwaZulu-Natal recorded 133 deaths, compared to 172;
- the Western Cape recorded 54, compared to 85 last year;
- the Eastern Cape recorded 81 road deaths, from 102 last year;
- Mpumalanga recorded 40 deaths, compared to 83 last year;
- Limpopo recorded 73 fatalities, down from 94;
- the North West recorded 36, down from 60; and
- the Northern Cape recorded 16 deaths, compared to 29.
“In the coming days, we’ll intensify our efforts on pedestrian and passenger fatalities by ramping up policing in suburbs, townships and villages. Law enforcement operations focusing on drunk driving and the wearing of seatbelts will also be increased,” Mbalula said. “The reductions recorded so far don’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. I’d like to remind everyone that the success we’ve recorded so far should not lead us to complacency.”
The number of traffic fines issued also dropped significantly compared to last year. Mbalula also confirmed that they had made less arrests this festive which suggests that there had been some improvement with motorist behavior. The minister was however still alarmed by the high number of people who continued to risk their lives and those of other motorists by driving drunk or under the influence of alcohol and drugs. A total number of 1397 of motorists were arrested this season for driving under the influence.
This definitely comes as some much-anticipated good news for us South Africans that we were able to play our part over the festive season and adhere to road rules. Let us continue to drop these stats and ensure that we are safe on our roads throughout the year.
By Noni Nchwe