Two people died on the N2 in Cape Town when the bakkie they were in crashed into a ditch. Minister Fikile Mbalula has said 690 people have lost their lives on roads this festive season so far. Picture: Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)
Two people died on the N2 in Cape Town when the bakkie they were in crashed into a ditch. Minister Fikile Mbalula has said 690 people have lost their lives on roads this festive season so far. Picture: Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)

More than 690 people have already lost lives on roads this festive season

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published Dec 23, 2020

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Pretoria - More than 690 people have already lost their lives on the roads this festive season, a drop from 732 at the same period in 2019.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula, releasing the 2020 preliminary festive season road statistics yesterday, said: “While this represents a 5.7% decline year on year, it is no reason to celebrate.

“Equally, the total number of crashes has declined by 8% compared to the same period last year,” he said, adding the festive season marked the end of what was arguably a difficult year.

He said this year, law enforcement officers were not only expected to enforce the law without mercy but also ensured that the lockdown regulations and directions were strictly adhered to.

Mbalula said: “Our task has been made that much harder by the Covid-19 pandemic that continues to ravage our country and the world. The preliminary figures we are releasing are a dipstick on the progress we are making towards achieving our 20% target to reduce fatalities this festive season.

“The peak travel period is upon us, and we expected traffic volumes to spike between December 22 and Thursday, December 23, followed by another spike on December 31.

“The final peak is expected on January 3 and 10, as many people will be making their way back to major cities ahead of the re-opening of industries and schools.

“Our statistics demonstrate that our roads were fairly busy during the first peak - between December 18 and 19, despite the prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Over this period, an average of 2 439 vehicles per hour was recorded on the N1 from Gauteng to Limpopo.”

He said the N3 from Johannesburg to Durban recorded an average of 1 547 vehicles per hour. This was marginally lower than the same period in 2019.

“Since the start of the festive season, our traffic law enforcement authorities have kept a close eye on vehicle movements and transgressions of the rules. A total of 416 roadblocks were conducted from December 1 to 20, with 634 166 vehicles having been stopped and checked.

“A total of 109 529 motorists were issued with traffic fines for various offences. On the other hand, a total of 2 415 vehicles were discontinued, while another 1 801 vehicles were impounded.”

Mbalula said a total of 2 111 motorists were arrested for various offences, and 896 were arrested for drunken driving, 336 for speeding and 588 warrants of arrests for outstanding traffic fines were served.

“The highest speed was recorded on the N1 near Ventersburg in the Free State, where a motorist was caught travelling at 242km an hour.

“Road safety is a collective responsibility. Government, civil society, and road users must all play their part to preserve human life on the road. Targets are meaningless if we do not bring to bear our collective effort to make our roads safer.

“Saving life and limb on the road starts with each one of us. Speaking up and calling out our friends and relatives, when they conduct themselves in an irresponsible manner on the road is the start of an effective behavioural change.”

Pretoria News

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