Road crashes are the leading cause of death among the youth, says RAF

Road Accident Fund CEO Collins Letsoalo. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ANA

Road Accident Fund CEO Collins Letsoalo. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ANA

Published Jun 14, 2024


Durban — Prior to the celebration of Youth Day on June 16, the Road Accident Fund (RAF) has urged road users to reduce the number of devastating road crashes by driving safely.

This follows an analysis of available data that revealed that the average number of road fatalities when Youth Day falls on a weekend is 74.

In a statement released by RAF, statistics also revealed that youth in South Africa mainly die because of road crashes.

From 2020 to 2022, the estimated number of young people who died on South African roads was 13 963 out of 34 946 fatalities. This translates to an annual average of 4 654 fatalities in the age group 15 to 34 compared to the total average of 11 649. In the same period, most young road users that died were pedestrians at 38%, followed by passengers at 35%.

RAF Chief Executive Officer, Collins Letsoalo, said South Africa is largely made up of a youth population; staying safe on the road is one of the ways of preserving the country’s future. Some deaths are avoidable by simply adhering to the rules of the road and the use of restraints such as seat belts and car seats.

Winter months, which include the Youth Month, present a huge risk on the roads because nights are longer. Most road accidents happen during the night. Letsoalo said this requires road users to be more vigilant and visible, including using reflective vests, wearing bright colours, and being mindful of the different seasonal changes.

Letsoalo appealed to road users to play their part in ensuring that their journeys do not end in tragedy.

“The deaths of young people on the road makes up about 40% of the total road crash deaths in South Africa. Plans for your life and the future should start with ensuring that you get to your destination safely. Let’s be intentional about saving lives,”he said.

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