Figures point to rise in road carnage over Easter weekend

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga is not happy at the high rate of crashes and fatalities during the Easter weekend.

Addressing the media at Road Traffic Management Corporation offices in Waterfall, Midrand on Friday, Chikunga said 185 crashes led to the deaths of 225 people over the long weekend compared with 135 crashes that resulted in 161 fatalities in 2022.

She highlighted that the worst drunken driving incident was recorded in Harrismith in Free State when a driver recorded 1.16mg of alcohol in 1 000ml of breath.

This was 4.8 times more than the legal limit of 0.24mg in 1 000ml of breath.

“There can be no doubt that the proactive actions of our law-enforcement officers prevented far worse carnage on our roads,” said Chikunga.

“We may not be able to quantify the actual number of people that may have died had these reckless drivers not been caught, but we are certain that lives were saved.”

An increase in fatalities was recorded in all provinces except Mpumalanga, Western Cape and North West.

“We congratulate these provinces for the hard work, well done.

“The other six provinces recorded increases, which is a setback that may impact our ability to attain the goals set out in the United Nations global road safety campaign to reduce road carnages by half in 2030.”

The highest number of pedestrians died in collisions that happened in Western Cape, Limpopo, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
“The highest number of fatalities occurred on Friday and the lowest number was recorded on Thursday,” she said.

“Most of the fatalities occurred between 3pm and 10pm and were predominantly characterised by hit-and-run crashes, single-vehicle overturning, accidents involving pedestrians, and head-on collisions.”

Over Easter, 30 934 traffic fines were issued, 430 unroadworthy vehicles were discontinued and 1 625 vehicles were impounded for displaying invalid or fake discs and violating permits.

“Meanwhile, 1 716 drivers were arrested for excessive speeding, drunken driving, reckless and negligent driving, and operating public transport without permits.

“The worst speedster was nabbed on the N1 near Lyttelton in Centurion, Gauteng for driving at 198km/h in a 120km/h zone.”

Chikunga noted that her department will be rolling the 365-day road safety campaign with renewed vigour and determination.

“We owe this not to ourselves but to the next generation that must inherit a better place than we found. We have instructed our traffic officers to enforce the law.”

She also thanked the law-enforcement officials and emergency personnel who worked throughout the holiday period and extended her condolences to the families, friends and next of kin of those who died on the roads.

The top five traffic offences identified were:

  • speeding
  • driving unlicensed vehicles
  • driving without fastening seat belts
  • driving without a licence
  • driving vehicles with worn tyres
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