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.
It’s been a weekend of carnage on KwaZulu-Natal’s roads. Since Friday, a spate of accidents has left five people dead and 38 injured, among them two policemen and two paramedics.
In the most recent crash, paramedics were treating patients at the scene in Mooi River yesterday. At the time of going to print, no details were available.
Also yesterday, two paramedics were taken to hospital after a vehicle collided with their ambulance at the intersection of Stanger and Sandile Thusi (Argyle) roads in Durban. Both sustained minor injuries.
A summary of the other accidents follows:
l Twenty people were injured when an articulated truck, a minibus taxi and a car collided |on the N2 south-bound near Umgeni Road on Friday morning.
Netcare 911 spokesman Jeff Wicks said the truck slammed into the side of the taxi, which was travelling in the same direction, before coming to rest on the grassed median. The taxi then apparently fell on to its side after going through the roadside barrier.
“The driver of a car was unable to avoid the taxi and slammed into the vehicle’s exposed undercarriage,” he said.
All passengers were stabilised.
l A teenager was killed and five others seriously injured when two vehicles collided at the intersection of Qashana Khuzwayo (Shepstone) and Bram Fischer (Ordinance) roads, central Durban, in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Wicks said it appeared that five occupants of a bakkie – two people in the front and three on the open back – had been travelling into the city after an evening out at a local nightclub, when they collided with a VW Golf.
“The three people on the back of the vehicle were thrown out as the bakkie spun out of control before coming to rest against a traffic light,” |Wicks said.
A teenager, who was one of those on the back, died at the scene. The four other occupants, and one of the five occupants of the Golf, sustained serious injuries.
l At about 11.30pm on Friday, an accident involving two vehicles and a minibus taxi left |one person dead, two critically injured and 11 others needing treatment. The accident occurred |on the R61 near the Sea Slopes off-ramp on the South Coast.
Wicks said it appeared that a Toyota Corolla had collided with a VW Golf before hitting the taxi. Thirteen people were in the taxi at the time.
The driver of the Golf was uninjured, but the driver of the Toyota died at the scene. Two of the taxi’s passengers were taken to hospital, critically injured.
l Also on the South Coast on Friday afternoon, one man was killed and another seriously injured when their vehicle went through the median of the N2 highway near Hibberdene and collided with an articulated truck.
l In the Midlands town of Nottingham Road at about 8.30pm on Friday, two men were killed and another injured when a bakkie and truck collided.
Paramedics found the bakkie lying on its side, with two men trapped inside. A third man was found nearby. Both of the trapped men were declared dead at the scene.
l Wicks said the driver of a sports utility vehicle (SUV) “is lucky to be alive” after the vehicle slammed into the side of a timber truck on the |N2 highway near Stanger.
The driver of the truck had apparently tried to make a U-turn, blocking the lanes of the highway.
“The driver of the SUV failed to brake in time and collided with the fully laden trailer. Paramedics arrived to find the crumpled SUV lodged beneath the frame of the truck. The seriously injured driver was treated at the scene before he was taken to hospital. Both he and the truck driver are in a stable condition,” Wicks said.
l Two policemen were seriously injured when their patrol van collided with a car at the intersection of Old Airport and Rana roads in the Prospecton area on Friday at about 8.30pm.
Both sustained possible head and spinal injuries and were taken to Amanzimtoti’s Kingsway Hospital.
l One man was critically injured when his vehicle spun out of control and hit a light pole on North Coast Road, Durban, at about 7pm on Friday. He was taken to Addington Hospital.
l The driver of a vehicle that overturned on the N3 highway near the Pavilion Shopping Centre yesterday was taken to a local hospital. It is unclear what caused the accident.
Heavy carnage on KZN roads at weekend
The scene of a multi-vehicle accident on Umgeni Road on Friday morning, which left 20 people injured. Since Friday morning, nearly 40 people have been injured and five killed in a spate of accidents on KwaZulu-Natal’s roads.
“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.