22 december 2012 crash on the N1

The increasing death toll on South Africa’s roads is casting a long, dark shadow over Christmas 2012 as the carnage on the country’s roads continues.

Another 26 people were killed and 44 injured in road accidents across the country over the weekend, according to reports by various officials, and some of these fatalities have not yet been included in the official death toll of 765 on South Africa’s roads since the start of the festive season.

The worst accident was on the N9 between Aberdeen and Willowmore in the Eastern Cape, where five people were killed and seven injured when a minibus taxi overturned.

In the Western Cape, five people died in two accidents over the weekend - both of them near Beaufort West.

On Sunday morning, a woman from Lesotho and her two young children, aged three and one, died when a car and a minibus taxi collided. In another crash outside the Karoo town, on Saturday evening, two people died.

“It’s staggering the number of back-seat passengers who are not wearing seat belts.”

Siphesihle Dube, spokesman for transport minister Ben Martins, said there had been a sharp increase in the number of passengers making up the road death toll compared with previous years.

“In previous years, we’ve focused on bringing down the number of pedestrians killed during the festive season. This year, we have put a strong focus on two additional areas: buckling up and fatigue managemen,” Dube said.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation had hoped for a 25 percent drop in road deaths over the previous years’s figure of 1771 between December 1, 2011 and January 10, but spokesman Ashref Ismail said the current high figure suggested it was unlikely that they’d be able to meet their target of reducing fatalities.

Martins said many of the fatalities and crashes could have been avoided.

“For example, 17 of the major crashes we have recorded since December 1 were head-on collisions due to dangerous overtaking.

“We need a 360-degree turn in driver attitudes if we are to succeed. People need to rethink their responsibilities. - Cape Argus