Festive season road stats: More than 1,600 fatalities due to slippery roads

───   12:59 Tue, 18 Jan 2022

Festive season road stats: More than 1,600 fatalities due to slippery roads | News Article

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula released the festive season road statistics on Tuesday, saying the country saw “some of the most heart-wrenching crashes” over the past festive season recorded from 1 December 2021 to 11 January 2022.

Mbalula says a total of 1,685 fatalities were recorded during the 2021 festive period, which is a 14% increase compared to the previous year.

The minister cited the 12th January accident, which claimed 17 lives and injured eight on the N1 near Mookgophong, Limpopo.

“The bus driver lost his life along with the passengers due to the bus catching fire, that entrapped them inside immediately after impact,” he said during a media briefing.

Major crashes

Mbalula indicated that a total of 34 major crashes accounting for 223 fatalities were recorded across South Africa.

“This is in contrast with the 13 major crashes responsible for 72 fatalities. Despite the challenges, we remained resolute and persevered through it all,” the minister said.

He said jaywalking, speeding, slippery road surfaces, and poor visibility were among the main causes of road fatalities during the festive period.

The minister said statistics showed fatalities increased in seven provinces, excluding Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Provinces that saw an increase in fatalities:

  • Northern Cape saw the highest increase of 97% recorded, from 33 fatalities in the previous festive period to 65 in this period.
  • Western Cape recorded a 55.6% increase, from 133 fatalities to 207 in the same period.
  • North-West recorded a 25.3% increase, from 95 fatalities to 119.
  • Mpumalanga recorded an increase of 24.3%, moving from 152 fatalities to 189.
  • Limpopo recorded a 16.5% increase moving from 194 fatalities to 226.
  • Gauteng recorded a 15.5% increase moving from 238 fatalities to 275.
  • Free State recorded the lowest increase of 7.2% moving from 111 fatalities to 119 in this period.

Provinces that saw a decrease in fatalities:

  • Eastern Cape recorded the largest decline of 7.9% in fatalities, going down from 228 to 210.
  • KwaZulu-Natal recorded a significant 6.5% decline in fatalities. The province recorded 275 fatalities as compared to 294 in the same period last year.

RAF claims

The minister indicated he anticipates that claims against the Road Accident Fund (RAF) will increase to R518.7 billion in the 2023/24 financial year.

“There is no better illustration of the need to maintain economic unity of the Republic than the reality that the long-term liabilities of the [RAF] are now government’s largest contingent liability,” he said.

Mbalula also said it was alarming that the country had more fatalities per crash this year compared to the previous periods.

“This resulted in high passenger fatalities this year compared to the previous period. Passenger fatalities constituted 38% in the current period compared to the previous 32%,” he revealed.

“[While] pedestrian fatalities decreased from 41% previously to 31% in the current reporting period, driver fatalities increased from 27% to 28%,” the minister continued.

He added that most fatal crashes – which involved light motor vehicles, light delivery vehicles, minibuses, and trucks – took place between 5pm and 7pm on Fridays and Sundays.

In preliminary festive season road safety statistics released in late December, Mbalula said there was a 142% spike in accidents with multiple deaths on South Africa’s road since the month started, leading up to Christmas.

The Citizen

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