Citizen reporter
2 minute read
3 May 2019
9:37 am

Easter weekend fatalities almost halved as police continue visibility strategies

Citizen reporter

The points demerit system will soon be signed into law by the president, which will help in eradicating 'calamities' on South Africa's roads.

Traffic police, SAPS and Transport Minister Blade Nzimande conducting a stop and search at Marianhill toll plaza after Easter holidays, April 2019. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo / African News Agency (ANA)

Transport Minister Blade Nzimande briefed the media on the preliminary Easter road safety report on Thursday afternoon in Pretoria.

The results confirmed that fatalities and road accident numbers decreased significantly over the Easter period, from April 18 to 22, when compared to 2018. 

Much of the improvement was credited to increased visibility of law enforcement officers throughout the country. 

Another factor was that fewer cars were recorded on the roads this year, as school holidays and Easter weekend were celebrated separately, EWN reported.

ALSO READ: Easter road deaths drop by 41% – Nzimande

Nzimande said there was a 46% decrease in accidents, compared to 238 crashes in 2018.

There was also a 48% decrease in fatalities this year, which was recorded at 162, when compared to 2018’s 309.

KZN had the highest number of fatalities, followed by Limpopo. Gauteng had 16 recorded fatalities, and the Northern Cape had the lowest number of fatalities at 3. 

“All provinces recorded decreases in the number of fatalities. The highest decrease in absolute figures was recorded by Limpopo with 41 fatalities, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 33 fatalities,” Nzimande said.

It was noted that tyre bursts contributed significantly to accidents this year, with, a 100% increase in tyre bursts recorded, compared to 82% in 2018. 

A staggering 807 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence. 

For speeding, 192 drivers were arrested, with Gauteng clocking in as the highest speed recorded at 203 km/h. 

For driving without operating permits, 139 drivers were arrested, 29 were arrested for driving without licenses, 25 people were arrested for reckless and negligent driving. Seventy-nine warrants of arrest were issued, and 22 people were arrested for driving with false documentation. 

“The total number of vehicles stopped in the Easter period was 177,182, an increase of about 27,079 compared with the previous year, where 150,103 vehicles were stopped. In 2019, we stopped 161,784 vehicles compared to 109,771 in 2018.

“Over and above notices issued, a total of 1,343 arrests were effected in 2019, compared to 1,598 in 2018,” Nzimande said.

72% of male drivers were responsible for accidents, and 15% of female drivers. Pedestrians accounted for 24% of accidents, a 14% decrease from 2018. 

Delivery vehicles and motorcars contributed the most to road accidents, but cars did decrease by 17% from 47% recorded last year. 

Light motor vehicles contributed to 13% of accidents, down from 22% recorded in 2018. 

Taxis contributed to just 6% of crashes. 

It was also said that the AARTO Amendment Bill, which will instil a points demerit system, will soon be signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

“The national department of transport will start in earnest to work towards a single, national database for all traffic offences in order to facilitate traffic law enforcement generally, and particularly for purposes of the implementation of the points demerit system,” Nzimande emphasised, adding that although statistics were down, “we can still do more to eradicate this calamity on our roads because one death is one too many”.

(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)

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