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Multiple-fatality crashes have increased this festive season: Mbalula

22 December 2021 - 10:48
Minister of transport Fikile Mbalula has released preliminary stats on fatalities on SA roads since the start of the festive season. File photo.
Minister of transport Fikile Mbalula has released preliminary stats on fatalities on SA roads since the start of the festive season. File photo.
Image: Twitter/Department of transport

The latest festive season fatality statistics paint a grim picture, with a 142% spike in crashes with multiple fatalities. There have been 17 this year, compared with seven over the same period in 2020.

The number of fatalities from major crashes also increased from 34 last year to 111 this year, said transport minister Fikile Mbalula, who released provisional statistics at the R80 Soshanguve highway in Pretoria on Wednesday.

“Year-on-year, the number of fatalities has marginally declined by 3.1%, from 848 in 2020 to 822 this year. [However] we are seriously concerned about the high number of major crashes, where five or more people perish in a single incident.”

He said “human factor” still remains the main reason for most of the incidents.

People who died on the roads this year were: passengers (35%), pedestrians (34%), drivers (26%), motorcyclists (1%) and bicycle riders (1%), he said.

“The vehicle types that [contributed mostly] to fatal crashes were minibuses, light delivery vehicles and trucks.”

Most fatal crashes happen during the early hours of the morning and in the early evening, and a majority of crashes occur between Friday and Sunday.

Mbalula said the statistics show fatalities increased in five provinces, with the exception of the Free State, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

The Eastern Cape recorded the highest decline (30.7%) in fatalities, from 127 in 2021 to 88 so far this year.

The other provinces recorded the following reductions:

  • the Free State recorded an 8.3% decline in fatalities, from 60 in 2020 to 55;
  • Limpopo had a 16.8% decrease, from 107 in 2020 to 89; and
  • KwaZulu-Natal recorded a 24.3% decrease in fatalities, from 173 in 2020 to 131.

The highest increases have been in the following provinces:

  • the Northern Cape recorded an increase of 60%, from 20 fatalities in 2020 to 32;
  • the Western Cape had an increase of 49.3%, from 71 fatalities in 2020 to 106;
  • Mpumalanga recorded an increase of 26.4%, from 87 in 2020 to 110;
  • the North West saw an increase of 10.9%, from 55 in 2020 to 61; and
  • Gauteng recorded an increase of 1.4%, from 148 in 2020 to 150.

“Despite these grim statistics, it is important to note that thousands of road users continue to respect the law and obey the rules of the road. This is a responsibility we must all take seriously to make a difference and ensure that our roads are safe to travel on.

“We have also begun to see increasing numbers of travellers on our roads. This also results in a high number of traffic violations, particularly those associated with drunk driving, speeding, and reckless and negligent driving,” he said.

During the first half of the festive season campaign, 710,970 vehicles were stopped and checked, with the intention of removing unroadworthy vehicles from roads.

A total of 1,561 vehicles were discontinued, 1,820 impounded and 2,639 drivers were arrested for offences ranging from drunk driving to excessive speeding and operating vehicles without a driver's licence, he added.

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