The Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, says 690 people lost their lives on South African roads from 1 December to 20 December 2020, compared to 732 people who passed away over the same period last year.
“While this represents a 5.7% decline year-on-year, it is no reason to celebrate. One life lost on our roads is one life too many. The total number of crashes has declined by 8% compared to the same period last year,” Mbalula said.
Releasing the preliminary festive season fatalities statistics on Tuesday at an event in Petroport, Panorama East, the Minister said six provinces have recorded a decline in fatalities.
“We are encouraged that these reductions make a positive contribution towards the realisation of our 20% target of reducing fatalities on our roads in 2020,” Mbalula said.
The festive season fatalities statistics for provinces that recorded a decline are as follows:
- Northern Cape recorded a decline of 23.5%, with 13 fatalities compared to 17 in 2019.
- Western Cape recorded a decline of 26.6%, with 69 fatalities compared to 94 in 2019.
- Free State recorded a decline of 28.8%, with 47 fatalities compared to 66 in 2019.
- Gauteng recorded an 18.7% decline, with 122 fatalities compared to 150 in 2019.
- North West recorded a 5.8% decline, with 49 fatalities compared to 52 in 2019.
- KwaZulu-Natal recorded a 3% decline, with 131 fatalities compared to 135 in 2019.
Three provinces recorded an increase in the number of fatalities compared to the same period last year. The statistics are as follows:
- Eastern Cape recorded a 21.5% increase, with 96 fatalities compared to 79 in 2019.
- Limpopo recorded an 18.4% increase, with 90 fatalities compared to 76 in 2019.
- Mpumalanga recorded a 15.9% increase, with 73 fatalities compared to 63 in 2019.
Since the start of the festive season, traffic law enforcement authorities have kept a close eye on vehicle movements and transgressions of the rules.
“A total of 416 roadblocks were conducted from 1 to 20 December, with 634 166 vehicles having been stopped and checked.
“A total of 109 529 motorists were issued with traffic fines for various offences. On the other hand, a total of 2 415 vehicles were discontinued, while another 1 801 vehicles were impounded,” Mbalula said.
A total of 2 111 motorists were arrested for various offenses. The arrests include 896 people that were arrested for drunken driving, 336 for speeding and 588 warrants of arrests for outstanding traffic fines were served.
The highest speed was recorded on the N1 near Ventersburg in the Free State, where a motorist was caught traveling at 242 kilometres per hour.
“The peak travel period is upon us, and we expect traffic volumes to spike between today and Thursday, followed by another spike on 31 December. The final peak is expected on the 3rd and 10th of January 2021, as many people will be making their way back to major cities, ahead of the re-opening of industries and schools,” the Minister said.
South African roads were busy during the first peak, which was between 18 December and 19 December, despite the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over this period, an average of 2 439 vehicles per hour were recorded on the N1 from Gauteng to Limpopo. The N3 from Johannesburg to Durban recorded an average of 1 547 vehicles per hour. This was marginally lower than the same period in 2019,” Mbalula said.
Law enforcement to intensify road safety activations
In the coming days, law enforcement officials will intensify road safety activations focusing on areas that have been declared as hotspots.
“We will equally intensify the enforcement of Alert Level 1 regulations and directions without fear or favour. This includes enforcing the curfew for all road users,” the Minister said.
Mbalula has called on all road users to exercise extreme caution as the country enters the second phase of the peak travel period.
“All our traffic law enforcement officers must remain vigilant and intensify efforts to stop the carnage on our roads.
“Our tactics will include visibility in residential areas and in the proximity of places where festivities occur in order to deter those who would otherwise be emboldened to drive under the influence of alcohol,” he said.