Increase in road fatalities over Easter is horrific, says the AA
South Africa recorded another increase in Easter road fatalities in 2023, another indication that the country requires urgent intervention to ensure better road safety, according to the Automobile Association (AA).
The AA said on Friday while commitments have been made by government to roll out road safety programmes, these must be implemented without delay.
According to transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, 225 people died on the roads over the four-day Easter long weekend in 185 fatal crashes. This is an almost 40% increase on the number of deaths in 2022.
The AA says this increase is horrific and again points to a lack of proper road safety intervention and implementation by government and the agencies responsible for road safety.
“In announcing the statistics, the minister indicated government would rollout a 365 [days] road safety campaign, which includes classifying traffic policing as a seven-day, 24-hour job,” the AA said.
“This will ensure more traffic law enforcement visibility on our roads and is long overdue. The new minister must, however, ensure the implementation of these initiatives is done without delay and we call on her, the department of transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) — the lead agency responsible for road safety in South Africa — to keep citizens informed on the progress of implementation.”
The association also notes that while these initiatives are welcomed, the department and the RTMC must also work to improve road safety education in schools and implement better road safety campaigns throughout the year.
“Intensive traffic law enforcement at specific times of the year will not change driver behaviour. Sustained and visible traffic law enforcement must be supported by road safety education in schools and through awareness campaigns targeting motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. These elements are conspicuously absent from our country’s road safety programme and must be prioritised.
“Road safety remains a national crisis in South Africa and unless government and the agencies responsible for road safety improve their approach, dire road fatality statistics will not decrease,” the AA said.
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