JeVanne Gibbs
2 minute read
19 Apr 2014
6:00 am

SA running out of time to decrease road deaths

JeVanne Gibbs

Time is running out for South Africa to drastically reduce its road fatality rate.

File photo. Tow truck drivers remove a truck that crashed on the R24 bridge near Bedfordview, 11 March 2014 Picture: Neil McCartney

With the country being a member of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration, road mortality rates have to be reduced by 50% over the next six years.

A total of 241 people died in 201 fatal crashes recorded during last year’s Easter holidays, while a total of 1 537 people died during the past festive season.

Road safety initiatives were said to be made visible and sustainable to bring about a dramatic behaviour change among road users. Effort was thus needed to ensure that road safety initiatives were impactful.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said the Easter holidays were the most challenging on the road traffic management calendar. “Thousands of motorists comprising of holiday makers, migrant workers, religious pilgrims and freight transport operators will be travelling the length and breadth of our major arterial road networks to various destinations around the country,” said RTMC spokesperson Thato Mosena.

“The road carnage during this period increases, placing a huge burden on emotional and financial costs to the affected families and the economy as a whole.”

Kwazulu-Natal was revealed to be the province with the highest death toll this past festive season, with 256 of the deaths on the country’s roads.

In a report released by the RTMC, Gauteng ranked second with 252 deaths, followed by the Eastern Cape with 174 and Mpumalanga with 128.

At the launch of the KwaZulu-Natal transport department’s Easter holidays road safety campaign in the Clermont Township in Ethekwini this week, health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said law enforcement visibility would be increased this weekend. “A total of 792 traffic officers will be deployed throughout the province and visible in high accident zones,” said Dhlomo. “The integrated law enforcement services, including police, customs and cross-border immigration forces, will form part of the broader enforcement plan.”

N3 Toll Concession (N3TC), the company responsible for the N3 toll route between Heidelberg in Gauteng and Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal, urged motorists to stay alert and focused on the road, as distractions could lead to negligent driving and high risk behaviour.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters appealed to motorists and passengers traveling to be patient with law enforcement operations, as these were carried out in their best interests.

Peters also called on pedestrians to exercise great caution and only walk in designated pedestrian areas, as at least 40% of road fatalities involved pedestrians.