Pretoria - The government is seriously concerned about the high number of major crashes, where five or more people perish in a single incident.
This is according to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who yesterday said that 111 people have already lost their lives in just 17 such incidents, compared with 34 fatalities in seven crashes.
Mbalula highlighted what he called a 142% spike in road crashes during the first half of the holiday season when he released the provisional festive season statistics at the Mabopane Highway (R80).
He was joined by Gauteng MEC for Transport Jacob Mamabolo and representatives of the Road Traffic Management Corporation when they announced that authorities have already discontinued 1 561 vehicles and impounded 1 820.
“A total of 2 639 drivers were arrested for offences ranging from drunk driving to excessive speeding and operating vehicles without a driving licence.
“The worst speedster was caught on the N1, near Mokopane, clocking 225km/h in a 120km/h zone.
“The worst drunk driver was caught on the N2 North at Winkelspruit in Kwa-Zulu-Natal with a breath alcohol reading of 1.95mg per 1 000ml of breath. The legal breath alcohol limit is less than 0.24mg in 1 000ml of breath,” said Mbalula.
He told the media, and all gathered at the release of the statistics, that he was happy to report that the man who was recorded driving a Range Rover recklessly and protruding from a driver’s window last week, had been identified by investigators from the RTMC and his arrest was imminent.
The driver was captured along the Moloto Road, steering from outside his vehicle as it sped down the notoriously busy road.
“Human factor still remains the main causal factor for most crashes during this period,” the minister said.
According to statistics, the Department of Transport has established that people who died on the roads this year were passengers at 35%, followed by pedestrians at 34%, drivers at 26%, and motorcyclists at 1%.
Bicycle riders who died on the road were at 1%.
“The vehicle types that had the most contribution to fatal crashes were minibuses, light delivery vehicles and trucks.
“Most fatal crashes happen during the early hours of the morning and early evening. Most crashes occur between Friday and Sunday.”
Mabalula said that as the holiday season got into full gear, they anticipated that a high number of vehicles would be crossing the country’s land border posts as people made the journey home for Christmas.
He said that the department would strengthen efforts by adding immigration and cross-border officials in its operations.
“During this busy period, millions of South Africans will be on our roads, travelling home to spend Christmas with loved ones, while others will be making their way to holiday destinations.
“I urge all motorists to behave responsibly on the road. Look out for pedestrians and exercise patience in heavy traffic. We owe it to posterity to ensure that those travelling do so safely and Arrive Alive 24/7 Waya Waya,” Mbalula added.
Road fatalities increased in five provinces, with the exception of the Free State, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.
The Eastern Cape recorded the highest decline, with 30.7% fatalities from 127 accidents last year to 88 so far this year.
The highest increases were recorded in the Northern Cape, with an increase of 60% from 20 fatalities last year to 32 over the same period.
The Western Cape recorded an increase of 49.3% from 71 fatalities las t year to 106 over the same period. Mpumalanga recorded an increase of 26.4% from 87 last year to 110; the North West recorded an increase of 10.9% from 55 last year to 61 and0 Gauteng recorded an increase of 1.4% from 148 to 150 over the same period.