Number of fatal accidents in FS escalates

2019-01-23 06:01

The Free State accounted for a high number of fatal road accidents during the festive season in the country as per festive report presented by Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande.

Presented last Wednesday (16/01), the report covers from the beginning of December 2018 to 8 January 2019.

According to the preliminary report, the Free State recorded an increase of 28%, from 124 fatalities in the previous year to 159 this year. Hillary Mophethe, spokesperson of the Department of Police, Roads and Transport, says the Free State had the highest increase after the Eastern Cape.

She said according to findings, the increase was notably caused by the involvement of trucks and minibuses in horrific road crashes during mid-season in December. She said the report also highlighted that carnages on the roads in the Free State were instigated by several factors mostly embedded in human and vehicle factors.

“An analysis of these shows a disturbing trend where drivers from the neighbouring countries were involved in some of the major crashes where five and more people died. The Free State was the worst affected by such incidences of collision that occurred at Bloemspruit, Tierpoort, Clocolan and Tweespruit,” said Mophethe.

She said all these incidences highlighted a number of human related behaviour: drivers from neighbouring countries were involved in serious and flagrant violations of road traffic rules by excessively overloading their vehicles and driving unroadworthy vehicles.

Secondly, most carnages were instigated by factors mostly embedded in human behaviour and vehicle factors such as: alcohol and substance abuse, reckless and negligent driving, unroadworthy vehicles, overtaking on blind-rises and barrier lines and in areas of poor visibility. Mophethe said findings indicated a total disregard of rules of the road where drivers used cellphones while driving. Other factors include fatigue caused by failure to rest, stray animals, particularly in rural areas and overloading, as well as lack of courtesy towards other road users. Mophethe said government will continue to partner with youth formations, Interfaith Community, road freight associations and the taxi industry to spread the culture of responsible road use and will employ the model of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 to achieve a 50% decrease of road crashes and fatalities by 2020.

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