The holiday death toll has risen to 62 on the Western Cape’s roads.
An average of six people a day have died on the province’s roads during the first 10 days of December, bringing the number of fatalities during that period to 62, according to Western Cape MEC for transport and public works Robin Carlisle.
He said that the number of road deaths in the province rose by 31 percent when compared to the same period in 2011when 43 people died.
Carlisle said that of the 62 people who died, 28 (45 percent) had been passengers, while 20 (32 percent) were pedestrians.
“This has been a very grim start to the festive season with lives being lost at a rate of six per day. The uncharacteristically high proportion of passenger deaths immediately identifies a lack of seat belt compliance, particularly in respect of back seat passengers.
“Therefore, in addition to the continuing measures in respect of drunk driving, speeding and fatigue management, the enforcement of “buckling up” among back seat passengers will be intensified,” said Carlisle.
He said that between August 2011 and June 2012, a total of 13 621 fines were issued for seatbelts not being in use, while 415 fines were issued for seatbelts not meeting the required specifications, and 56 for children not being effectively restrained.
“Our fatality statistics and engagement with our partners in the City of Cape Town have revealed this very concerning trend with regard to the use of seatbelts, particularly among passengers in the back seat of a vehicle.
“With a high number of the fatalities coming from the Metro (35 percent), not wearing your seatbelt is a gamble with your own life, and that of your passengers. Injuries sustained in crashes are intensified when seatbelts are not used, especially by rear-seat passengers. A decision to buckle up is almost always the difference between life and death,” said Carlisle.
Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said fatigue was also on of the biggest killers on our the roads and that they had extended their “fatigue management programme” aimed at taxi drivers to also include car drivers. - Cape Argus