Traffic statistics released by the Western Cape Government shows that many road related deaths are linked to the use of alcohol.
Shockingly local government said that approximately 55% of the road traffic fatalities between January and June 2016 occurred between midnight on Friday and 6am on Monday morning – a time when many people use alcohol.
It noted that a total of 670 people died as a result of a road traffic injury in the Western Cape so far this year, citing statistics from the provincial Department of Health Forensic Pathology Services.
A further 46 deaths currently under investigation may also have been a result of road crashes, it said.
“Given the trend established in the period 2013 to 2015, it is likely that many of these deaths are linked to the use of alcohol, and that most of the deceased were pedestrians,” the Western Cape Government said.
Blood alcohol test results for 2,230 people who died on the road between 2013 and 2015 showed that over half (1,173 or 52%) had been drinking.
Of the group that tested positive for alcohol, 1,074 had more than 0,05 g of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (the legal limit for drivers), and 584 had 0.2 g or more.
A person with 0.2 g of alcohol per 100 ml of blood is four times over the legal limit for drivers, and is likely to have consumed 10 or more alcoholic beverages (e.g. 10 bottles of beer or ten glasses of wine).
“The most worrying feature of the tidal wave of alcohol abuse on the road is the number of pedestrians who are being killed with extremely high levels of alcohol in their blood,” said Donald Grant, minister of Transport and Public Works.
“From our sample from 2013 to 2015, 366, or 62.6% of the 584 persons whose post-mortem blood tests came back over 0.2 g were pedestrians. This trend seems to be continuing in 2016, with pedestrian traffic fatalities bucking the overall downward trend of deaths among drivers and passengers,” Grant said.
He reminded reckless drivers that the Dräger breathalyser is set to come back into operation on 1 August 2016.
The Global Status report on Road Safety for 2015, from the World Health Organization (WHO), found that South Africans are the worst in the world when it comes to drunk driving.
The WHO noted that South Africa has the highest rate of alcohol-related road deaths, where as much as 58% of deaths can be attributed to alcohol consumption.