SA sees decline in road carnage over 'unique' long Easter Weekend.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The preliminary statistics for the Easter weekend shows that the number of crashes declined by 28.6% resulting in a 31.5% decline in the number of fatalities on South African roads.
"A total of 162 people perished on our roads this year compared to 235 last year, resulting from 134 fatal crashes this year compared to 189 the previous year. Most of the crashes occurred on Friday and Saturday," Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has said.
The Minister made these comments during the release of the preliminary statistics for the recent Easter weekend where he also provided an update on the driver licence extension of the grace period.
"The success we have achieved this Easter will add momentum to our efforts to reduce road fatalities by 25% by 2024. Improving our law enforcement capability and visibility, as well as upscaling public safety campaigns will continue to gain traction.
"We have made a commitment to make a telling difference in our law enforcement interventions by ensuring that our officers act without fear or favour while maintaining constant high levels of visibility 24 hours a day, seven days a week," the Minister said at a media briefing at the Grasmere Toll Plaza.
Mbalula said all provinces recorded a decline in fatalities, except for the Western Cape and Mpumalanga.
The Western Cape recorded a 30.8% increase from 26 fatalities in 2021 to 34 this year while Mpumalanga recorded a 27.8% increase from 18 road fatalities the previous year to 23 this year.
Other provinces recorded a decline in road fatalities in the following manner:
- KwaZulu-Natal registered a 61.1% decline from 54 road deaths the previous year to 21 this year.
- Northern Cape registered a 57.1% decline from seven road fatalities the previous year to three this year.
- Free State registered a 53.8% decline from 13 deaths the previous year to six this year.
- North West registered a 45% decline from 20 deaths the previous year to 11 this year.
- Limpopo registered a 44.1% decline from 34 deaths the previous year to 19 this year.
- Gauteng registered a 33.3% decline from 36 deaths the previous year to 24 this year.
- Eastern Cape registered a 25.9% decline from 27 deaths the previous year to 20 this year.
"Our analysis shows that while the trend of fatalities per time of the day continues to show that most fatalities occur at night, a new phenomenon was noted this Easter with fatalities showing a sharp spike in the early hours of the morning between 4am and 5am," the Minister said.
This includes the bus crash that occurred on the N1 near Leeu Gamka on Good Friday.
A total of 2 395 traffic fines were issued for speeding this year compared to 5 923 last year while 3 494 motorists were fined for operating unlicensed vehicles compared to 5 677 the previous year.
Mbalula, has also encouraged all those who have yet to come forward to renew their licences to do so immediately.
"There will be no further extension of the grace period beyond this period. We will step up our law enforcement interventions in order to penalise those who wilfully disregard the law and fail to renew their expired licences, while assisting those with genuine challenges," the Minister said.
Currently, the country has a backlog of 1.3 million expired driving licence cards that have yet to be renewed.
An analysis of the backlog by age of drivers, who have not renewed their driving licence cards, shows that motorists between the ages of 25 and 50 years constitute 68% of drivers who have yet to renew their licences.
"Motorists must understand that they have to utilise their booked slots to help us tackle the backlog in a meaningful way. We urge these drivers to ensure that they honour their commitment and take up the slots, which would ordinarily have been used by others who have difficulty in finding slots closer to where they live.
"We have overcome the capacity constraints that delayed the production of driving licence cards due to the machine that broke down last year. The Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) trading entity is now working 24-hour daily shifts to clear the backlog of driving licence cards," he said.