The Department of Transport has released the road fatality data for the 2018/19 festive period, reporting that 1,612 people lost their lives on SA roads during that time.
While the department is reporting a 7% reduction from last year’s fatalities, Justice Project South Africa lead, Howard Dembovsky said that comparing like-for-like data reveals a 2.5% increase in fatalities.
According to Dembovsky, the department is making it difficult to track accurate data on road fatalities by using unequal monitoring methods.
2018’s data is based on reported fatalities between 1 December 2018 and 8 January 2019 (39 days) – while the previous year’s data covered 46 days, from 1 December 2017 to 15 January 2018.
On a like for like basis, the 2018 festive death rate was up by 2.5%, from the 1,573 reported fatalities between 1 December 2017 and 9 January 2018.
This represents a fatality rate of 42 people per day, Dembovsky said.
Transport Minister Blade Nzimande said the Northern Cape, Free State and Eastern Cape recorded the highest percentage increases in fatalities in 2018/19.
“This resulted in an 80% increase in Northern Cape from 30 to 54 fatalities. The Free State increased by 28% moving from 124 fatalities in the previous year to 159 this year, while the Eastern Cape recorded a 22% increase moving from 195 fatalities to 238,” the minister said.
The report indicates that Gauteng and the North West were the only provinces that recorded percentage decreases in the number of fatalities.
According to the report, at least 36% of people dying from road-related incidents were passengers. This in an increase from the 34% recorded last year.
“Pedestrian fatalities have shown a two percent decrease from 37% last year to 35% this year while driver fatalities remained at 27% and cyclist at 2%,” he said.
The statistics show that human factors account for 90% of contributory factors to fatal crashes compared to vehicle factors that contributed 4% while road and environmental factors contributed 6%.
During the festive season government increased law enforcement patrols and visibility on major routes such as the N1, N3 and N4 in an effort to reduce the number of accidents.
“As a result of these interventions, there was no major crash with multiple fatalities on the N1 between Bela-Bela and Polokwane and a total of 1,021 un-roadworthy vehicles with overloaded trailers were discontinued,” the Minister said.
There were 775 roadblocks conducted compared to 440 the previous year; 1,358,619 vehicles were stopped and checked compared to 1,281,062 the previous year.
A total of 765,009 notices were issued compared to 290,023 the previous year; 4,016 vehicles were discontinued compared to 3,809 the previous year and 2,967 vehicles were impounded compared to 2,808 the previous year.
“We continue to review our policies and legislation that are aimed at improving safety on our roads through proper infrastructure, ensuring safer vehicles, influence road user behaviour and ensuring proper post-crash response,” the minister said.
With reporting from SANews.