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Road accidents decreased!

Though we half-heartedly acknowledged the decline, we have no cause to celebrate as our people continue to be killed on our roads due to irresponsible and murderous acts of fellow road users.

On 9 January 2014, The Minister of Transport, Honourable Dipuo Peters, issued an official statement on the festive season statistics.

2014 was a very significant year as it marked the end of the second decade of the democracy, However as South Africans ponder on twenty years of hard earned freedom, The Minister provided that  road carnages is not one of the poignant social issues that  can be rejoiced about.

Minister Peters further stated that out of all of the systems that people have to deal with on a daily basis; road transport is the most complex and mostly dangerous.

Worldwide, the number of people killed in road traffic crashes each year is estimated at almost 1.2 million, while the number injured could be as high as 50 million – the combined population of five of the world's large cities.

“The majority of such deaths are currently among vulnerable road users – pedestrians, pedal cyclists and motor-cyclists. The level of road deaths and injuries is unacceptable and to a large extent avoidable”, said Minister Peters.

She said tthat road traffic carnage prevention and mitigation should be given the same attention and scale of resources that is currently paid to other prominent priorities if increasing human loss and injury on the roads, with their devastating human impact and large economic cost to society, are to be averted.

“Road Safety continues to be an enormous challenge, as road crashes rob us of our loved ones and families each and every day. It impacts negatively on our economy placing an unbearable strain on our social budgetary allocations, thereby unreasonably increasing social dependency on government”,

“A culture of respecting the “right to life” together with embracing a culture of voluntary compliance is an ethos we still dream of. The pertinent question we should always ask ourselves is: when is that time for us- to respect the right of life for other road users, simply, that time is not tomorrow or the day after, that time is now”, she said

Honourable Dipuo Peters provided that the festive season spanning from 1 December 2014 to 5 January 2015 depicts a gloomy picture of the state of road safety.

 During that period 1118 fatal crashes with 1368 fatalities were registered. Compared to the same reporting period last year whereby 1147 fatal crashes with 1376 fatalities were registered. This indicates a slight reduction of 2.5% for fatal crashes and 0.6% for fatalities.

“Though we half-heartedly acknowledged the decline, we have no cause to celebrate as our people continue to be killed on our roads due to irresponsible and murderous acts of fellow road users. These senseless killings could have been avoided if we all behaved as responsible law abiding citizens”, she said.

The Minister further provided that the revelation of the contributory trends to the road carnages and crashes indicates the following:

Road User Type

- Passengers - 39%

- Pedestrians - 36%

- Drivers - 24%

- Cyclists - 1%

Percentage contribution per Gender Classification to the total number of fatalities and fatal road crashes

- Males' contributed 75% to the total fatalities

- Females' contributed 22% to the total fatalities

- Unclassified gender contributed 3% to the total fatalities

Interestingly the fatalities as per the top three most affected age groupings:

Driver age group

- 25 to 29 (12%)

- 30 to 34, (13%)

- 35 to 39 (9%)

Total 34%

Passenger’s age group

- 20 to 24 (6%)

- 25 to 29 (8%)

- 30 to 34 (7%)

Total 21%

Pedestrian’s age group

- 20 to 24 (6%)

- 25 to 29 (8%)

- 30 to 34 (7%)

Total 21%

High propensity of crashes occurred during the following times of the day and interestingly Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays being the days that are most affected (at night).

20h00 - 24h00 (25%)

24h00 - 04h00 (14%)

04h00 - 08h00 (12%)

Total 51%

The Minister said that the department will focus on and intensify Road Safety Education, regular rigorous and visible Integrated law Enforcement and decisively deal with drunken driving, moving violations and related contraventions.

“Law Enforcement and joint operations will become a norm in residential and built environment and very specific during the hours when no one expects us”, she said.

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