Many Capetonians will be making use of national roads this festive season as they travel to see loved ones and make their way to holiday destinations. A 16% increase in accidents has already been seen this festive period so far, with a total of 767 recorded fatalities country-wide.
A preliminary report – the results of which were delivered by South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande – reveals that road fatalities have increased in all provinces except for Gauteng, which has experienced a 10% decrease in its road fatalities.
The highest percentage increase in road fatalities was recorded in the Northern Cape, which had a 71% increase in fatalities. The Free State experienced an increase of 53%, and KwaZulu-Natal an increase of 46%.
KwaZulu-Natal has the highest recorded number of road fatalities, with 162 fatalities so far this year.
Law enforcement officers have conducted more than 356 roadblocks throughout the country, and issued 326 642 fines for various offenses.
“Of particular interest is that 10,666 of these fines were for drivers who did not have a driving licence while 9,620 were for drivers who did not fasten seat belts, 8,481 for driving unlicensed vehicles, 5,811 for driving vehicles with worn tyres and 3,039 for overloading of goods,” Nzimande said.
Other noteworthy fines include:
– 1 402 unroadworthy vehicles were suspended, and 1 310 other vehicles were impounded
– More than 2 837 motorists were caught drunk driving
– Five drivers were arrested for driving at excessive speeds of between 189 km per hour to over 200 km per hour
“Light motor cars contributed 47% to the total crashes followed by light delivery vehicles at a contribution of 21% and minibus vehicles with a contribution of 7% and trucks 5%,” Nzimande said.
A number of minibus vehicles have also been involved in fatal collisions since the start of the festive season. Thirty-four minibus taxis had been involved in deadly collisions, as well as 44 trucks.
“These vehicles were involved in single-vehicle overturning, head-on and head-to-rear collisions which strongly suggests that drivers were unable to control the vehicles due to fatigue and the vehicles veered onto oncoming traffic or they were unable to stop the vehicles on time to avoid collisions because of high speed,” Nzimande said.
According to the minister, most fatal road accidents occur between 7pm and 8pm, as well as between 10pm and 11pm.
He also added that as of December 1, the majority of crashes have occurred on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
“We are expecting traffic volumes to increase dramatically from tomorrow, as millions will be travelling home to be with their families or to holiday destinations for Christmas Day festivities,” said Nzimande. “We anticipate that more people will be travelling again on 28 December in preparation for New Year’s Day. The last peak travel period will be on the weekend of 5 and 6 January 2019, when travellers are expected to return to their homes and places of work for the re-opening of industries and schools.”