A new study by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has identified the regions of South Africa that carry the highest risk for road fatalities involving trucks and buses.
The study comes amid a push by the group to raise awareness among drivers and South Africans at large about the severity of these accidents and the lives lost as a result.
“The RTMC recognises that it is not able to fight the road carnage alone, and a uniformed approach is necessary for a greater impact. The Road Safety truck driver awareness will be an effort to create much-needed awareness to drivers and equip and refresh minds of safer road conduct,” it said.
The ‘baseline’ RTMC study showed that a total of 4,001 trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2022.
A total of 2,560 fatal crashes were recorded, with 3,413 fatalities and a combined crash severity of 1.33 (average fatalities per crash).
The stats can be summarised as follows:
|Worst province for fatal truck crashes
|Worst province for fatal bus crashes
|Worst days for truck fatal truck crashes
|Saturday and Sunday
|Worst time for fatal truck crashes
|18h00 – 22h00
|Worst days for fatal bus crashes
|Saturday and Sunday
|Worst time for fatal bus crashes
|05h00 – 08h00
|Worst area for fatal truck crashes
|N3, Harrismith SAPS Area, Free State
|Worst provinces for fatalties
|KZN, Mpumalanga, Limpopo
|Province with most fatal road segments
|Best province for bus and truck fatalities
The KwaZulu-Natal province recorded the highest number of fatal crashes, with 21.6% or 552 incidents where trucks and buses were involved.
Truck crashes were further analysed to indicate the day of the week and the time of the day during which most truck crashes occur.
The most crashes where trucks were involved over the study period are between 18h00 and 22h00 on Saturdays, with 187 reported crashes where trucks were involved or 5.3% of such crashes.
Second highest, between 18h00 and 22h00 on Sundays, with 176 or 5.0% of crashes where trucks were involved.
The most fatal crashes where trucks were involved occurred on during the four-hour period between 18:00 and 22:00 on Saturdays and Sundays with a combined total of 363 or 10.2% such fatal crashes.
The most fatal crashes where trucks were involved over the study period were recorded on the N3 in the Harrismith SAPS Area in the Free State province, where 44 trucks were involved in 26 fatal crashes with 45 fatalities recorded.
A total of 71.2% or 148 of the fatal truck-related crashes occurred in the KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Mpumalanga provinces.
The province with the most road segments with truck-related fatal crashes within the Top 20 is the KwaZulu-Natal province.
A total of 455 buses were involved in 323 fatal crashes, with 487 fatalities recorded in such crashes.
The Gauteng province recorded the highest number of fatal crashes where buses were involved, with 23.5% or 76 fatal crashes.
The lowest number of bus fatal crashes was again recorded in the Northern Cape Province, with 1.9% or 6 such crashes.
The most fatal crashes where buses were involved in over the study period are between 05h00 and 08h00 on Sundays with 36 or 7.0% of such crashes recorded.
The second highest period where buses were involved in fatal crashes was between 05h00 and 08h00 on Saturdays, with 25 or 5.5% of such crashes.
Most fatal crashes where buses were involved in occurred on Saturdays and Sundays, with a combined total of 57 or 12.5% of fatal bus-related crashes.
The time between 05h00 and 08h00 has the highest number of recorded fatal bus-related crashes, with 126 or 27.7% such fatal crashes.
The best province
The lowest number of truck and bus-related fatal crashes were recorded in the Northern Cape Province, with only 2.5% or 65 such crashes.
The RTMC said combating road fatalities requires a collaborative effort to reinforce positive driver behaviour.
“While individual road users are expected to be responsible for complying with traffic laws and behaving in a safe manner…organizations have a primary responsibility to provide a safe operating environment for road users,” it said.
Anton Cornelissen, Head of Santam Heavy Haulage said that groups need to continue to raise awareness around truck driver wellness and its impact on road safety.
“Drivers are the backbone of the trucking industry, and by the nature of the work they do, they work under unique physically demanding conditions, putting them at increased risk of a range of chronic health conditions, including diabetes and hypertension.
“These conditions, coupled with fatigue, can negatively affect the reaction time, and significantly increase the risk of collisions,” he said.