It took only five days of Easter holidays in South Africa to see a total of 201 fatal crashes resulting to the death of 241 people, an increase of 20 and 24, respectively, compared to last year’s figures.
Many of these deaths occurred in villages, townships and other residential areas. These figures are preliminary and the final statistics will be released later, transport minister Dikobe Ben Martins said yesterday in Pretoria.
“It is a regrettable and sad reality that this year’s preliminary road fatality figure is higher than that of last year,” Martins said.
“Initial trends indicate that pedestrians continue to be the main victims of the fatalities occurring on secondary road routes. A high percentage of the people who died on our road were pedestrians,” the minister said.
Crash contributory factors were human error and vehicle and road conditions, he said, pointing out at driving at high speeds above the set speed limits, abuse of alcohol by drivers and pedestrians, and dangerous and reckless overtaking.
The massive Easter holidays operation netted 864 motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol, and approximately 600 of these motorists were arrested in urban areas.
Vehicles’ defects that caused some of these fatal accidents included steering wheels, tyres and brakes.
Martins said many passengers also lost their lives because they did not use safety belts. Only 2% of passengers use safety belts compared to 60% of front seat passengers, the department said.
The department said 250 000 vehicles were stopped during the Easter traffic campaign, resulting in the issuing of 79056 notices, the suspension of licence discs of 1039 vehicles, and the impounding 1024 vehicles.
Over 1500 people were arrested for other infringements including reckless and negligent driving, excessive speeding, lack of taxi, or public transport permits, false documentation, and driving without licences.
During the same period, the Cross Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA) inspected 3368 vehicles, issued 619 notices and arrested 3 drivers for cross border road transport related issues, the department said.
The minister said his department will continue to mobilise South Africans to be active participants in the efforts to promote road safety and reduce the death toll in the country’s roads.
*Photo by Car-accident.com.