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Eastern Cape records biggest decrease in festive season road deaths, but figures up nationally

Jan 10, 2017
Eastern Cape records biggest decrease in festive season road deaths, but figures up nationally

The Eastern Cape recorded the biggest decline of 20%, with 211 fatalities on our roads during the 2016/2017 festive season - it recorded 265 in the 2015/2016 period, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, announced as she released the 2016/17 festive season road crash and fatality figures in Midrand on Tuesday morning. 

She said that Limpopo province had highest increase of 31%. Still the KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Limpopo contributed around 61% of the total number of people who died.

Minister Peters said that a total of 1 714 fatalities were recorded this festive season, which is a 5% increase on the previous period.

Around 75% of those, who perished were males; 23% were women. An astonishing 81% of the victims of the road carnage were black and the remainder were other races.

"...men need to stop trying to impress others by dicing with death," said Peters.

The Minister said that unlike in previous years, many of the dead were actually passengers. Passengers constituted 40% of fatalities, pedestrians 34%, drivers 24% and cyclists 2% while children, aged 0-4, contributed 6%.

"The majority of crashes were as a result of single motor overturning and head on collisions and point to incompetence of drivers," she told reporters.

"We are working with the Justice Department to reclassify drunken driving from schedule 3 to schedule 5 so as to mete out harsh sentences [to renegade drivers]."

She said that her Department was also working with the Justice Department of Justice on the admissibility of footage from social media and dash cam to help convict reckless drivers.

According to the Minister, light motor vehicles contributed for 49% of the fatalities; light delivery vehicles added 18% and minibus taxis contributed 10%.

She said that police issued out more than 453 263 fines for various offence - of those 28 238 were for failing to wear seat belts, adding that 6 805 unroadworthy vehicles were suspended, 2 501 discontinued and 9 175 motorists arrested over the festive period.

Minister Peters said that the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has since been instructed to undertake audit of how driving licences are issued.

She also appealed to South Africans to desist from reckless behavior on the roads - especially to avoid drinking and driving.

"... the use of alcohol needs to be curtailed... as SAfricans we need to take drinking & driving as a menace," she said.

 The Minister also said that the long arm of the law will also extend to parents, who neglect to ensure that their children are buckled up "as if they were donated to them".