Road accident statistics are inaccurate, says DA

2010-01-11 00:00

THE DA has slammed the country’s road accident statistics as not reflecting the crisis on South African roads.

This follows claims by a driving skills company that statistics for the festive season road fatalities released by the Transport Department were inaccurate.

Transport spokesman Logan Maistry denied the statistics were doctored, saying they are taken from police accident reports.

According to the department’s preliminary reports, more than 1 100 deaths were recorded on South Africa’s roads during the month of December.

Between January 1 and 6, 2010, 103 fatalities were recorded.

KwaZulu-Natal DA transport spokesman Radley Keys said the department’s move towards releasing road death statistics early in the new year led to an inaccurate picture of the actual state of affairs being presented to the public.

He said the initial numbers released in KZN only reflect those who died at the scene of crashes, not those who died on the way to hospital or in hospital.

He said the figures released to the media last week show a 22% improvement when, in fact, this holiday season’s preliminary figures, compared with the preliminary figures for the 2008 festive season, show a deterioration of 16%.

“Our research department has undertaken a research throughout the country and the findings are that the accidents during the festive season period have escalated by 16%. The department’s statistics are not accurate.”

Keys said it is disturbing to have statistics that do not reflect the seriousness of the problems on the roads.

“We must move away from being defensive. If we underplay the extent of the problem then we won’t be able to come up with solutions,” he said.

He said the ministry is welcome to look at the findings and the method as well as instruments used in the DA’s research.

Maistry said the department’s Road Transport Management Corporation (RTMC) gathers information from “accident report forms” obtained from the police stations where the accidents have been reported, to determine the number of people who died in particular accidents.

An analysis report is also obtained from the police to validate the data received from the various police stations.

“To try and address the concerns and allegations, the RTMC is in the process of testing a system called the ‘Real Time Accident Reporting’. This system will be able to capture accident information received on a daily basis.

“The information will then be forwarded to interested parties, affording them access to view the statistics in real time and at will,” Maistry said.

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