Pedestrian deaths biggest contributor to festive season road death toll

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Cape Town - Pedestrian deaths were the biggest contributor to the festive road death toll over the 2017/18 festive season.

Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi released the figures in a report on Monday morning in Pretoria for the period from December 1, 2017 to January 9, 2018.

Pedestrian deaths accounted for 37% of fatalities in the period, up from 34% over the same period last year.

The previous biggest contributor last year, passenger fatalities, declined this year from 41% to 35% of total deaths.

"This indicates that it is possible to save more lives if more people use safety belts," Maswanganyi said

Third highest was deaths among primary drivers, which also increased from 23% to 27% of all deaths in the period.

Seven provinces decline

The overall road death toll over the 2017/2018 festive season decreased to 1 527, an 11% drop from the previous year.

This had surpassed the 10% target, compared to the 1 714 deaths recorded during 2016/2017 festive period, according to the minister.

- Read more: Festive season road death toll decreases 11%

Seven provinces experienced declines in total deaths over the period, with the exception of the Western Cape and the North West provinces.

They recorded a 7% and 11% increase respectively.

Western Cape Transport MEC Donald Grant said that pedestrian deaths were also the biggest contributor to the province's increase. They would analyse the role alcohol played in the death of pedestrians in the metros.

Limpopo had the biggest reduction in fatalities this year, followed by the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.

There was a significant 44% decline in the number of arrests made in the period for drunken driving.

The number declined from 5 943 in 2016/17 to 3 301 this year.

"This is another evidence of improved compliance and the success of our messages warning against drinking and driving."

'Youth' deaths, speeding arrests increase

There was an increase in fatalities among "youthful drivers" aged 25 and 34, while there was a decline in the number of fatalities among drivers between the ages of 35 and 49.

Official in-depth statistics by age will be released at a later date.

When it came to speeding, 922 drivers were arrested compared to 785 the previous year. Five motorists caught exceeding 220km/h in 120km/h zones were arrested in Limpopo, Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape.

There was a 43% decline in fatalities in the top 13 identified "hazardous routes", down from 429 to 244 in the period.

The amount of registered vehicles increased from 10 801 558 to 11 028 193 year-on-year.

As for licensed drivers, the figure increased from 12 163 813 to 12 658 135.

Corruption

In Limpopo, five licence examiners and three civilians were arrested for facilitating corrupt deals, while 12 officers were arrested for taking bribes.

In Gauteng, three privately-owned vehicles were raided, while 10 vehicle examiners were arrested for fraudulently issuing roadworthy certificates.

The total number of people arrested countrywide on fraud and corruption charges in the period was 32.

Maswanganyi said they would be focusing on closing down more stations that issued certificates without proper testing in 2018.

All MECs agreed that the high number of pedestrian deaths needed to be analysed, as well as the role that alcohol played in the high figure.

- Wheels24: What do you think of the festive season road death toll? What do you think should be done to curb road deaths in SA? Email us feedback@wheels24.co.za 

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