Easter road deaths show 51% increase from last year

Photograph: Vryheid Herald

Road deaths on the country’s roads over the Easter weekend showed a 51 per cent increase from last year but were still less than in 2015.

Addressing the media on Friday morning in Pretoria, the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, said preliminary figures showed 79 more people died this year, bringing the total number of road deaths to 235 in comparison to 156 in 2016.

However, this year’s fatalities are still significantly lower than the 333 fatalities recorded in 2015.

Fifty per cent of these deaths were passengers, followed by pedestrians at 24.5 per cent, drivers at 19,8 per cent and cyclists at 5.7 per cent.

“Our preliminary report shows that many people who died on our roads were victims of hit-and-run incidents, jaywalking or motorists who were driving at speeds that were too high for the circumstances. Human factor still remains a causal factor for most of the crashes during this Easter period,” Maswanganyi added.

“The vehicle types that made a high contribution to fatal crashes were cars and LDVs, with contributions of 49% and 20% respectively. Minibus type vehicles contributed 7.6% and buses 1.1%, which indicates that most of the passengers who died were travelling in cars.

“Most fatal crashes happened at night, especially from 6pm to 10pm, to the early hours. About 34% of the daily crashes happened between 6pm and 10pm.”

The report illustrated a new pattern in which crashes shifted from identified historical hot spots to new routes and built-up areas that previously did not have a high number of crashes.

Most crashes and fatalities happened in residential and remote areas from 11pm until 5am.

Statistics show that fatalities increased in all provinces with exception of the Free State, which recorded a 27% decline in fatalities from 11 in 2016 to only eight this year.

The other provinces recorded the following performance:

Eastern Cape: 17% increase in fatalities from 24 in 2016 to 27 this year.

Limpopo: 30% increase in fatalities from 23 in 2016 to 30 this year.

Mpumalanga: 33% increase in fatalities from 21 in 2016 to 28 this year.

The highest increases have been recorded for the following provinces:

Northern Cape : increase of seven (175%) from four to 11;

Kwa-Zulu Natal: increase of 31 (111%) from 28 to 59;

Gauteng : increase of 14 (58%) from 24 to 38;

Western Cape: increase of eight (57%) from 14 to 22; and

North West: increase of four (50%) from eight to 12.

Maswanganyi said 174 253 vehicles were stopped and checked with the intention to remove unroadworthy vehicles from our roads in all provinces, while 61 340 motorists were charged with various offences. More than 2 800 motorist were arrested for drunken driving, inconsiderate, reckless and negligent driving, possession of false documents and driving without licences or public driver’s permits.

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