Road death stats dubious - analyst

2014-01-09 16:16
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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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Johannesburg - Transport Minister Dipuo Peters's announcement that 1 376 people were killed on South Africa's roads during the festive season was not credible, an advanced driving skills company said on Thursday.

"Between 1 December  and 31 December, the death toll reached 1 184. That's 38.19 deaths a day," www.driving.co.za managing director Rob Handfield-Jones said in a statement.

"However, the government is claiming that in the next seven days, 192 additional deaths occurred at 27.14 deaths per day. How is it possible that the daily death toll could drop by one-third?"

Peters told reporters in Pretoria that 1 376 people were killed in 1 147 crashes between 1 December and 7 January.

Department spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said Handfield-Jones should provide scientific evidence for his assertions, as people often spent Christmas and New Year's in different places, which altered traffic patterns.

"It is a matter of people deciding where to spend Christmas and new year's. Different people decide how long they stay on holiday. It is a bit mischievous to make such a claim," he said.

"The number of crashes is proportional to the number of vehicles on our roads. I don't see on what basis he is questioning the statistics."

He said as the number of vehicles on the roads declined, accidents would decrease.

"If that is the basis of his question, he should provide the scientific evidence to back his claim. It is a simple, straightforward matter."

Publicity stunt

Handfield-Jones said the same distortion took place with the 2012/2013 festive season data.

If the daily death rate from December was used, the actual death toll would be closer to 1 450, and would likely exceed that if the coming weekend's holiday traffic was taken into account.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation's (RTMC) data was also not credible, and it almost three years behind with its annual statistics. It had still not released the final death toll from the 2012/2013 festive season.

"Today's [Thursday's] announcement cannot be regarded as anything more than a publicity stunt," said Handfield-Jones.

Peters stressed that they were preliminary figures.

"It is with a great sense of duty and accountability for us as the transport sector to release to the South African public statistics on road crashes and the impact that the crashes have," she said.

The RTMC was not available for comment.

- SAPA

Read more on:    rtmc  |  johannesburg  |  accidents
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