Road deaths in the Western Cape dropped to 132 during the 2020/21 festive season compared with the 157 deaths recorded in the previous holiday season. File picture: Ayanda Ndamane /African News Agency(ANA)
Road deaths in the Western Cape dropped to 132 during the 2020/21 festive season compared with the 157 deaths recorded in the previous holiday season. File picture: Ayanda Ndamane /African News Agency(ANA)

Welcome slump in Western Cape festive season road deaths

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Jan 29, 2021

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Cape Town - Road deaths in the province dropped to 132 during the 2020/21 festive season compared with the 157 deaths recorded in the previous holiday season, the Western Cape Transport Department said.

The latest statistics released yesterday by the Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela and the acting provincial director for Traffic Law Enforcement, Vigie Chetty showed that 25 fewer people died on the province’s roads in December than in the previous holiday season, with pedestrian deaths remaining the leading cause of fatalities.

Madikizela said despite all the challenges they faced, they managed to record a 15% reduction in road fatalities between December 1, 2020 and January 11, 2021.

Madikizela said a decrease of fatalities was recorded on overall provincial roads, with 51 fatalities in 2019/20 to 44 fatalities in 2020/21.

“A notable decrease in fatalities recorded on municipal roads is commendable, with 88 fatalities recorded in 2020/21 compared to 106 fatalities in 2019/20,” said Madikizela.

According to the statistics on the overall fatalities, one cyclist, 28 drivers, six motor-cyclists, 38 passengers and 59 pedestrians died.

“Traffic Law Enforcement operations/roadblocks conducted increased from 1 116 in 2019/20 to 1 899 in 2020/21. The number of discontinued vehicles is 565 and the number of impounded vehicles 74.”

Madikizela said the number of people arrested for drunken driving decreased to 89 in 2020/21 from 476 in 2019/20, with an overall number of arrests decreased to 223 in 2020/21 from 808 in 2019/20.

However, Chetty said there were six people arrested while attempting to bribe traffic officers on the roads.

Parliament's portfolio committee on transport chairperson, Mosebenzi Zwane said the number of deaths on the roads was alarming and was a matter that the committee would treat with the attention it deserves.

Zwane said drivers needed to learn to observe and respect the rules of the road whether law enforcement were visible or not. Adding to that, he said the Department of Transport should help the country realise its dream of accident free holidays.

The AA, has welcomed the reduction in road fatalities, saying it must be seen in the context of decreased traffic volumes over the same period last year.

The AA said it has become too routine for South Africa to accept that road traffic fatalities would continue, or decrease nominally annually, without more being done to reverse the situation.

“The Traffic Law Enforcement Review Committee – established by Transport minister Dipuo Peters in 2016 – made several important recommendations regarding traffic law enforcement which is a major component of road safety," said the AA.

The association said among those was the doubling of traffic law enforcers on the roads, and the adoption of a graduated driver licensing system with a 24-month probationary period for new drivers.

“These are practical measures to improve the situation on our roads but, sadly, little has been done to implement them.”

“Efforts are being made to deal more effectively with road safety, but it is clear these efforts are misguided, and it’s questionable if they will have any meaningful impact on our country’s road death toll,” said the AA.

Cape Argus

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