Shift in school holidays among reasons for decrease in Easter road fatalities

2019-05-02 17:47
(File, supplied, Rescue Care)

(File, supplied, Rescue Care)

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Past Easter-weekend death toll serves as safety reminder

2017-04-13 15:46

Easter weekend sees heavy traffic flow with hours spent on the road and fluctuating death tolls. We look back at past stats.WATCH

The decrease in road fatalities this Easter was attributed to law enforcement officers' hard work and the fact that the school holidays were separated from the Easter weekend.

However, Transport Minister Blade Nzimande believes that there isn't a single reason for the 48% decrease in the number of road fatalities.

READ: Massive reduction in Easter road deaths this year - Nzimande

According to a preliminary report the minister released on Thursday, 162 people died on the country's roads during the Easter period in 2019, compared to 309 in 2018. The report covers the period from April 18 to April 22.

Factors leading to the decline

The minister said that the separation of the school holidays and the long Easter weekend lessened the pressure on the roads and may have been a major contributor to the reduction in fatalities.

However, Nzimande stressed that law enforcement agencies' hard work contributed significantly.

"The other interventions that we have been talking about (law enforcement), from our own evidence, they are beginning to show a bigger impact."

Nzimande was referring to the integration of all road safety law enforcement and the focus on the 50 most hazardous spots for drivers in SA, where additional officers were deployed.

Nzimande also said increased visible policing bore fruit because motorists tend to drive responsibly and reduce their speed when police are visibly present.

"This last Easter weekend shows that there are things that are beginning to work and we need to look closer [at the statistics]."


In terms of law enforcement, the minister announced an increase in the number of vehicles stopped during the Easter period. He said 177 182 cars were stopped in 2019 compared to 150 103 in 2018.

Over and above notices issues, a total of 1 343 arrests were affected in 2019, compared to 1 598 in 2019.

In addition, 192 drivers were arrested for speeding, 807 drivers were arrested for drunken driving, 139 drivers were arrested for operating without permits, 29 for driving without a licence, 22 for false documentation and 25 people for reckless and negligent driving.

There was also a 46% decrease in the number of recorded crashes - 128 were reported in 2019 and 238 this year.

Contributing factors leading to crashes

Nzimande announced that human factor, including driver behaviour and recklessness, was the main cause of crashes.

"In 2019, human factor contributed 91% to the crashes – a decrease of 0.3% compared to 91.3% in 2018," Nzimande said.

Roads and environmental factors as causes of accidents increased by 1.7% from 5.5% in 2019 to 7.2% in 2019, while tyre burst-related incidents increased by 18% in 2019, compared to last year.

Motorcars and light delivery vehicles contributed to 30% of the crashes and minibus taxis were only involved in 6% of crashes.

Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  accidents

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