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Pretoria - The death toll on South Africa’s roads over the Easter weekend dropped from 241 in 2013 to 193 this year, according to preliminary figures announced by transport minister Dipuo Peters on Wednesday.
There were 148 fatal crashes this year compared to 201in 2013, she said.
“The report was compiled by the police, evaluated by the Road Traffic Management Corporation, and verified by provincial heads of department of transport and their respective political heads,” Peters said.
KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of fatalities.
Forty-nine people died in the province in 39 fatal crashes, followed by the Eastern Cape with 36 (19 crashes), Limpopo 30
(23), and Gauteng 23 (22).
In Mpumalanga, road deaths totalled 19 (in 18 crashes), Free State (nine), followed by the Western Cape with eight (six), North West with seven (seven) and the Northern Cape with six (five).
Peters said: “Referring to the two previous years, in 2012 we recorded 181 crashes that resulted in 217 fatalities.
“And in 2013 we recorded 201 crashes, which resulted in 241 fatalities.”
This meant headway had been made in reducing the number of crashes and road deaths on South Africa's roads, the minister said, despite increses in both population size and the number of vehicles on the road.
Pedestrians accounted for 40 percent of those killed.
“This figure has become an almost permanent feature in our statistics,” she said. “We need to really deal with the 40 percent of pedestrians.”
“That is our biggest barrier right now.”
She said 283 323 vehicles were stopped and checked, 43 433 notices were issued, 1094 vehicles were discontinued, 1457 vehicles were impounded, 330 motorists were arrested for drunken driving, and 10 motorists were arrested for dangerous and negligent driving.
The figures captured were for the period starting from midnight on Thursday 17 April to midnight on Monday 21 April.