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Fatal Road Crashes Decrease by 2.3% During 2023/24 Festive Season

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Fatal Road Crashes Decrease by 2.3% During 2023/24 Festive Season

Decline of 2.3% in Fatal Road Crashes During 2023/24 Festive Season

The latest figures on road safety for the 2023/24 festive season have brought a glimmer of hope as fatal crashes have seen a decrease of 2.3% compared to the previous year, according to recent statistics released by the Ministry of Transport. Despite slight improvements, there’s a somber note to the data: the majority of fatalities belonged to the 25 to 44 age group.

During a statement at the N1 Grasmere Toll Gate in Johannesburg, Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga unveiled statistics indicating a dip from 1,212 fatal crashes in the 2022/23 period to 1,184 crashes this season. Of the factors behind these incidents, human error remained the prime cause at 80.8%, with environmental and vehicle factors accounting for 10.4% and 8.8%, respectively.

 The latest road traffic statistics for the 2023/24 festive season have been released by Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga

The latest road traffic statistics for the 2023/24 festive season have been released by Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga

In a detailed breakdown of the deceased’s profiles, Chikunga disclosed that a startling 40.9% were pedestrians. The remainder comprised 33.6% passengers, 24.6% drivers, and a marginal 0.8% cyclists.

“The gradual reduction in the number of fatal crashes can be attributed to the heightened law enforcement activity and the persistent visibility of our police force,” Chikunga remarked. Road safety efforts saw over 1.4 million vehicles halted for routine checks, resulting in the apprehension of 7,820 drivers on various offences from inebriation to reckless driving and submission of fraudulent documents.

Despite the decrease in fatalities, the Minister acknowledged the dangers posed by the season’s inclement weather, noting that “some drivers neglected to adjust their driving speed to the wet conditions, culminating in preventable accidents.” A pattern emerged showing an increased rate of accidents in the early part of December, mid-month, and over Christmas, correlating with paydays, end-of-year festivities, and holiday travel.

The data revealed that most accidents transpired in the evenings, between 7pm and 10pm—with 8pm to 9pm being the most hazardous hour. Additionally, Sunday saw a surge in fatalities, marking a concerning trend.

The report also indicated a mixed regional outlook:

– Free State with a 27.4% decrease
– Eastern Cape with 21.5%
– Northern Cape with 15.7%
– Limpopo with 8.4%
– North West with 2.1%
By contrast, other provinces witnessed rises:
– Gauteng with 7.6%
– KwaZulu-Natal with 4.2%
– Mpumalanga with 9.7%
– Western Cape with a sharp 22.6%

Chikunga praised the Eastern Cape for exceeding its fatality reduction target and promised concerted discussions with officials in provinces that had underperformed, aiming to align future targets with local capabilities and dynamics.

The surge in vehicle registrations before the holiday season, from 12,964,430 the previous year to 13,133,035, underlined the challenge of maintaining safety on increasingly busy roads.

In closing, Minister Chikunga extended heartfelt gratitude to the tireless efforts of traffic officers, the SAPS, and emergency medical personnel, “Their selflessness and unwavering commitment to the line of duty, even at the expense of personal time, is laudable and deserves our highest commendation,” she stated.

 

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