- More than 1 400 people died on South African roads during the festive season.
- Most of them died during the weeks of 15 to 21 December and 22 to 28 December.
- Gauteng saw an increase in road deaths.
More than 1 400 people died on South African roads during the festive season.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula revealed this at the release of the 2022-'23 festive season road traffic statistics on Tuesday.
Most fatalities were recorded during the weeks of 15 to 21 December and 22 to 28 December 2022, said Mbalula. He added that most crashes occurred between 17:00 and 22:00, particularly over the weekends.
Most fatal crashes involved light motor vehicles, followed by light delivery vehicles, minibuses and trucks. Light motor vehicles accounted for 39% of total fatal crashes, followed by light delivery vehicles at 16%, minibuses at 7% and trucks at 4%.
"The 2022-'23 festive season recorded significant gains in our efforts to arrest road fatalities," he said.
While 1 451 people died on the roads, Mbalula said this was a 13.9% reduction compared to the 1 685 fatalities recorded during the previous festive season. He said Western Cape fatalities dropped by 36.7%, Mpumalanga by 23.8% and the Northern Cape by 21.5%.
Meanwhile, road fatalities increased from 275 to 290 in Gauteng – a 5.5% increase.
He said pedestrian fatalities also remained a major concern countrywide. "Pedestrian fatalities significantly increased by 10% year-on-year – from 31% in the previous period to 41% in the current festive season."
Mbalula said pedestrian deaths constituted 54% of all fatalities in Gauteng and the Western Cape, meaning that for every 100 people who died on the roads, 54 were pedestrians.
He said passenger fatalities declined by 7%, with 31% recorded during the 2022-'23 festive season, compared to 38% in the previous festive season.
READ | Man dies, several others seriously injured on KZN roads
"Our message to buckle up must continue to resonate with motorists as a life-saving mechanism. We have seen unbuckled children and adults alike being [flung] out of cars, resulting in serious injuries and deaths that could have been prevented," he added.
Mbalula said driver fatalities declined from 28% in the previous period to 27% in 2022-'23. He added that fatalities among cyclists declined from 3% to 2%.
Mbalula said 25 244 unlicensed vehicle offences were recorded.
Mbalula said speeding infringements remained high, with 32 110 incidents recorded.
On 22 December 2022, a VW Golf 7 driver was arrested after travelling at 238km/h on the N1 in Wierdabrug in Gauteng. On 3 January 2023, a Subaru driver was arrested after driving at 233km/h on the N4 in Bronkhorstspruit. They were released on R1 000 and R1 200 bail respectively.
Mbalula said 1 600 people were arrested for warrants executed, 1 094 operating licences, while 947 drunk driving cases were opened.
He added that the "drunkard of the century" was arrested on 3 January 2023 with an alcohol level of 3.99mg/1 000ml. "This is 16.6 times above the limit and cannot be unacceptable by any measure."
Mbalula said efforts to deploy visible policing at hazardous locations would continue to be a priority, especially during high accident times.
"I must commend our traffic officers, police officers and all members of the emergency and rescue services who sacrificed their time [with] their loved ones to ensure that you and I reach our destinations safely.
"To motorists out there, exercise care and patience on the road. Be patient at the various enforcement interventions and remember that these officers are out there doing a thankless task, exposed to the elements, just to ensure our safety," he said.