Most crashes avoidable: Peters

2014-01-09 20:03
Dipuo Peters

Dipuo Peters

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Festive season road accident statistics

2014-01-06 15:41

ER24's Werner Vermaak talks road accident statistics and gives useful information on dealing with road accidents.WATCH

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Pretoria - An analysis of the festive season's road death toll indicated that most accidents were due to irresponsible and disrespectful conduct, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday.

Major reasons for the accidents included drunk driving, speeding, reckless overtaking, driver fatigue, failure to wear seatbelts, unroadworthy vehicles, and unlicensed or illegally licensed drivers, she told reporters in Pretoria.

"May 2014 be the year that we turn the corner on road carnage and ensure that we drive with the right documents. No one will drive with what he or she thinks is the right document," she said.

"There is only one [licence] issued by the transport department. We are in control over that and if you are reckless, we are going to withdraw your driver's licence."

A total of 1 376 people were killed in 1 147 crashes on the country's roads between 1 December, 2013 and 7 January, 2014, she said, releasing the preliminary 2013/14 tally.

There were 1 558 deaths and 1 247 crashes in 2012/13.

She dismissed criticism that the release of Thursday's figures was premature.

"I am not going to respond to those who are sitting outside and barking when people are losing their lives. In fact, what we need to do is to capture [numbers] every day and notify South Africans on how many people are dying on our roads," she said.

"For me, I am not going to be bothered about what other parties are saying. We are governing South Africa on behalf of the people. Those who say we shouldn't have released the statistics, they can continue speaking, we have work to do."

She was responding to criticism by Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis. Ollis said in a statement the reporting period would end on Monday.

Thursday's release meant potential fatalities during the busy weekend, when many people returned home ahead of schools re-opening, would be excluded, he said.

Eliminate driving schools

Gauteng recorded 223 crashes which resulted in 268 fatalities. KwaZulu-Natal had 237 crashes and the highest number of fatalities, 284.

Limpopo had 112 crashes with 134 fatalities, the Eastern Cape 158 accidents with 190 fatalities, and the Free State 101 accidents and 121 fatalities.

In the Western Cape, 95 crashes resulted in 114 fatalities. The North West had 73 crashes and 88 fatalities, and Mpumalanga had 112 accidents and 134 fatalities.

The Northern Cape had 36 crashes which resulted in 43 fatalities.

Free State roads and transport MEC Butana Komphela said if he had his way he would eliminate driving schools.

"Minister, the driving schools have rampant corruption. I wish we would not have a driving school at all. They leave money in the cars for the traffic officer who is testing to pick up. I think we should do it [teaching learner drivers] on our own.

"Many of the licences that are not okay are caused by these private driving schools."

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