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A lot of accidents are happening after curfew, says Fikile Mbalula

22 January 2021 - 11:39 By shonisani tshikalange
Minister of transport Fikile Mbalula.
Minister of transport Fikile Mbalula.
Image: Twitter/Department of transport

Most accidents occurred on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, after the curfew time, said transport minister Fikile Mbalula on Friday, as he announced the 2020 festive season road statistics.

He also said 518 traffic officers contracted Covid-19 during this period, and 33 have died due to the virus.

The minister said although there was a decline in fatalities in eight of the nine provinces, "we fell short in achieving our ambitious 20% target we set for this festive season".

"Overall, we recorded a total of 1,448 fatalities from 1,210 fatal crashes. This represents a 7% decline in fatalities and 10.3% decline in fatal crashes, year on year."

Mbalula also said that heavy vehicles had an increased contribution to fatal crashes.

“Heavy vehicles, with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) greater than 3,500kg, were involved in 5.2% of fatal crashes compare to 3.7% last year. Articulated trucks were involved in 4.7% of fatal crashes compared to 4.9% previously. Light delivery vehicles accounted for 24.6% of fatalities compared to 22.2% in the previous year, while motorcycles accounted for 1.9% compared to zero in the previous year,” he said.

Mbalula said the overwhelming number of vehicles involved in fatal crashes are sedans and station wagons, which accounted for 51.4% of fatal crashes compared to 51.9% last year.

While other provinces have recorded a decline in fatalities, Mpumalanga recorded an increase of 4.4%, with 141 fatalities compared to 135 in 2019/2020.

“Mpumalanga is the only province that recorded an increase in fatalities,” said Mbalula.

According to the statistics the N3 near Harrismith, KwaZulu-Natal; the N2 near Idutywa, Eastern Cape; the N1 near Modimolle, Limpopo; the R37 near Mecklenburg, Limpopo; and the N12 near Potchefstroom, North-West, accounted for the highest number of crashes and fatalities.

He said while the N3 was the busiest route, with an increase in traffic volumes, there was a significant decline in traffic volumes on the N4.

"There was a notable decline of 4.5% in the number of pedestrians who died on the roads compared to previous year. Driver fatalities increased from 24.2% to 26.9%, passenger fatalities increased from 32.2% to 34.5%, while cyclist fatalities stood at 1%."

During his address late last year, Mbalula said nearly 700 people had died on SA roads since the start of the festive season.

“It is regrettable that 690 people lost their lives on our roads over the period December 1 to 20, compared to 732 over the same period in 2019,” Mbalula said during the release of preliminary festive season fatality statistics.

While releasing the 2019/20 festive season road safety report, Mbalula said the number of fatal crashes over the 2019 festive season were reduced by 3% in comparison to 2018.

According to the report, which was released earlier last year, there were 1,390 fatalities recorded in 2019/2020 in comparison to the 2018/19 figure of 1,438.