Pretoria - The number of fatal crashes over the 2019 festive season were reduced by 3% in comparison to 2018, says Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
The 2019/20 festive season road safety report indicated there were 1 390 fatalities recorded, down from 1 438 in 2018/19.
“The light is indeed a ray of sunshine and not an oncoming train. However, we are still a long way from celebrating and more still needs to be done,” he said yesterday.
The majority of road users who died on the roads were pedestrians (40%), passengers (34%), drivers (25%) and cyclists (1%).
Vehicles mostly involved in fatal crashes were light motorcars at 42%, light delivery vehicles at 20% and minibuses or Kombis 9%.
The report covers a period starting from December 1, 2019, and ending on January 15.
The Free State recorded the biggest drop in fatalities with a 35% decline, with 111 people dying on the province’s roads. Across the rest of the provinces, Mpumalanga recorded a 23% decline with 144 deaths, Western Cape 19% decline with 136 deaths, North West 16% decline and 110 deaths.
KwaZulu-Natal recorded the most deaths with 354 fatalities and saw a 5% decrease from 2018. Gauteng had the second-most deaths with 254 fatalities, while there were 242 deaths in the Eastern Cape and 217 fatalities in Limpopo.
“The number of people who lose life and limb on our roads is alarming and the cost to the economy is in excess of R168billion,” said Mbalula, who attributed the success to a more rigorous joint operation than in previous years.
The number of vehicles stopped and checked over the festive period increased from 1.3 million in the previous period to 1.5 million.
Roadblocks conducted nationwide increased from 775 previously to 1924.
More than 573 147 motorists were issued with traffic fines. The number of traffic fines issued decreased by 191 862 as a result of increased compliance with road regulations by motorists.
The number of discontinued vehicles increased from 4 016 to 6 358 and vehicles that were impounded increased from 2 967 to 3 814.
The most common offences for which traffic fines were issued were: speeding, at 58 669 fines, driving without a licence with 26 516 fines, driving without fastening the seat belt accounted for 25 786 fines, driving unlicensed vehicles at 32 481 and fines for driving cars with worn tyres were 13 311.
With regards to arrests, 85 people - including traffic officers, vehicle-testing station staff and ordinary motorists - were arrested on charges of bribery, fraud and forgery.
“Three vehicle-testing stations in Limpopo were shut down as a result of the anti-corruption investigations undertaken to eliminate the fraudulent issuing of vehicle roadworthy certificates,” Mbalula said.
Six law enforcers, namely three members of the SAPS, one member of the SANDF, a member of Correctional Services and security officers were arrested in the Eastern Cape for drunk driving.