Eastern Cape has third highest number of festive season road fatalities

DECEMBER 31, 2014

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters on Tuesday released the national road crashes and fatalities statistics between December 1st and 28th this year.

According to the stats, a total of 1143 people died in 924 crashes during the festive season up to December 28. KwaZulu-Natal topped the other provinces with 211 crashes and 249 lives lost, followed by Gauteng with 174 fatalities and the Eastern Cape with 161 fatalities. 

The stats also reveal that South Africa suffered 50 fewer fatal crashes and 25 fewer road deaths this festive season than a year ago. But while the slight decline is promising, transport authorities say one death is still one too many. It is estimated that road fatalities cost the country up to R60 billion annually.

Summons was served to 904 drivers for exceeding the speed limit. Peters listed concerns like unroadworthy vehicles, driver fatigue, drinking and driving, speeding and inconsiderate driving as some of the main reasons for the accidents.

"Only fools and idiots drink and drive. Only fools and idiots speed, only irresponsible that don't use child restraints, fools and idiots that drink and walk and use cellphones while driving and unfortunately human bodies don't have spare parts," she says.

Peters says while the number of crashes and road deaths has decreased slightly from 2013, there are still challenges that need work. She called for the justice system to be firmer in punishing traffic violators.

KwaZulu-Natal Transport Minister Willies Mchunu noted the province's leading crash status with some concern, saying that the influx of holidaymakers at this time exacerbated congestion on the province's roads.