Human element biggest factor to accidents during Easter holidays - Jacob Mamabolo
Pretoria - The human element was the biggest contributing factor to road accidents and fatalities over the Easter holidays, Public Roads and Transport Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo has said.
By Sunday, about 30 people had lost their lives on Gauteng roads alone and with many returning from their holiday destinations late yesterday, the number was expected to increase.
Mamabolo and Gauteng Traffic Police spokesperson Obed Sebasa called for a change in behaviour and the culture of driving to put an end to road deaths during holidays.
Mamabolo said he was disappointed to see so many vehicles on the road because even though inter-provincial travel was permitted under level 1 of the lockdown, he expected people to limit travel to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Sebasa said the N1, N3 and N4 were very busy yesterday; at some points there was traffic congestion for nearly 10km from early in the morning.
However, he said that ultimately it was human behaviour that caused most of the accidents.
Drunk driving, unsafe overtaking and excessive speeding, he said, ended the lives of other travellers and pedestrians.
He said: “I was disappointed that in just two days, between April 1 and 2, we had 11 pedestrians already killed, which is disturbing when you compare the figure with other months and other years. This also showed that pedestrians are not following the rules of the roads.”
He said the department was seriously concerned with pedestrians dying in large numbers due to behaviour such as drinking alcohol and walking next to roads, jaywalking and crossing highways illegally.
Several motorists were arrested for serious offences, including one who was bust on Sunday with an alcohol level far higher than the legal drinking limit. “Those people are potential murderers. Those are people that are out to kill innocent road users,” added Sebasa.
Mamabolo said the congestion on the N1 between Tshwane and Limpopo was of great concern as it showed that people travelled in such high numbers when the government was expecting that they would at least keep in mind the fact that Covid-19 travels with the movement of people.
He said: “We can only be hopeful that this does not translate to an increase in the rate of infection and fatalities on the roads. That is because these two issues happen very easily and they happen to increase with the higher number of cars and people on the roads.”
He said top of the worry list was the number of pedestrians that got hit by vehicles and those who attempted to cross highways. People also drove at excessive speed.
“Another issue worrying us which we have seen over the weekend is vehicles that are not roadworthy. On Saturday, within an hour, 83 fines were issued and almost all of them were related to vehicles not being roadworthy. This was within an hour in just one day.”
Mamabolo said the “culture of road usage in Gauteng and South Africa as a whole” needed to change.