National Department of Transport spokesperson Collen Msibi said pre-Easter road safety campaigns and greater visibility of traffic officers appeared to have been effective, but more officers were needed to ensure safer road usage.
Early statistics from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) indicate 1 738 drivers were caught speeding, 354 were caught for overloading vehicles, 843 were caught without a driver's licence and 346 without public drivers permits.
By comparison in 2016, there were only 150 drivers caught without a driver's licence, while 256 were arrested for speeding. In addition, 1 980 were arrested for drunk driving. Three major horror crashes, two in KZN, which claimed 17 lives, and one in Klawer, Western Cape, which claimed eight lives and 40 injuries, were more severe than the four major accidents of the 2016 Easter weekend which claimed 24 lives and 30 injuries.
The 2016 statistics indicate that human factors contributed to 75% and vehicles to 25% of incidents, while the greatest number of deaths were of pedestrians (40.4%) and passengers (34%). “Moving traffic offences such as speeding, overtaking on barrier lines and overloading are the main contributing factors to road crashes. Fatigue is also a silent killer. We will continue to arrest those who continue to break the rules of the road,” said Msibi.
It was too early to say if the number of fatalities had decreased over this Easter weekend, as the RTMC was still collecting countrywide data from traffic departments, he said.