Five people were injured in a serious car crash on the N3 Pinetown-bound at the Paradise Valley off-ramp in Durban earlier this month. Photo: Rescue Care

Durban - A report issued by the World Health Organisation in 2010 shows that South Africa has one of the world’s poorest road safety records – ±31.9 fatalities/100 000 people while comparable developing countries have a much lower fatality rate. 

For African countries, the average fatality rate is ±24.1 fatalities/100 000 people, whilst, globally, the average is ±18 fatalities/100 000 people. In South Africa, approximately 1 million road accidents are reported per year. 

The majority of the accidents that occur are caused by human factors, with, on average over 40 people a day being fatally injured and at least 20 being left permanently disabled.

As 2018 draws to an end , many South Africans will be travelling by road to their holiday destinations.  

This is the time where people are meant to be enjoying time with their loved ones, however unfortunately the reality is many families will be preparing for funerals of loved ones who will have lost their lives due to tragic road fatalities. 

Earlier this month, Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, gave an update to South Africans on the mid festive season road accident statistics and these have increased by 16% claiming 767 lives thus far. Excessive speeding and drunk driving are among the most common road violations recorded this festive so far.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), the road death toll over the 2017/2018 festive season decreased to 1 527, an 11% drop from the previous year. The figures were for the period December 1, 2017 to January 9, 2018. The Department of Transport states that road accidents are costing South Africa’s economy R164 billion which translates 3,4 % of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, which was 1,4 %t higher than the international benchmark.

Even though the road death toll data shows a decrease, one life lost on South Africa’s roads is one too many. It is with this background that the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) will also adding its voice and joining other stakeholders in the transport sector to reinforce awareness about the importance of road safety over the festive season. 

TETA’s road safety campaign was launched at the Pretoria Bosman Taxi Station as well as Johannesburg Park Station together with taxi operators and taxi drivers who will be transporting thousands of South Africans across the country.  

The campaign, according to TETA Chief Executive Officer, Maphefo Anno Frempong,  will also roll out with public activations at toll-gates and major ultra-city petrol stations where TETA will be able to engage directly with motorists and passengers about the importance of adhering to road safely.  

“During this festive season we encourage motorists and taxi drivers to be cautious on the ours roads and think about the journey and less about the rush of getting to the destination.  Road users need to start changing their behaviour on the road and be reminded that our roads are shared space and therefore critical to observe and obey the rules of the road”, she said. 

Daily News