Aim for reduced fatalities

The December holiday season ended on a positive note for road fatality rates with a 13.9% decrease compared to the previous year.

This is in addition to the fact that it was the first festive season without lockdown restrictions since 2019. It was an encouraging decrease and, despite the fact that 1 451 people still lost their lives, it is one of the biggest decreases South Africa saw without lockdown affecting it.

The Road Safety Partnership South Africa (RSP-SA) says following the December/January decrease, South African drivers should aim to outdo this, during the first school break and Easter holidays. “The government attributed the decrease in the fatality rate to law enforcement interventions. It is likely a number of other factors also contributed to this, however, no verified data is available.

“Whatever the cause of the decrease, each individual taking to the roads this March and April, should nonetheless commit to achieving a similar reduction between the 2022 and 2023 road fatality rates. Ultimately, the greatest change will be achieved by drivers following road regulations, adjusting driving to conditions, looking out for pedestrians, abstaining from impaired driving as a result of alcohol, drugs, fatigue and cellphone use, and ensuring no other risks are taken.”

Companies with drivers on popular holiday routes, must do their part as well. “Make sure all your vehicles meet the highest maintenance requirements and safety measures possible. Institute procedures to ensure drivers cannot get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs and take various internal steps to have the best drivers on the road.

“It is a long-held conviction of the RSP-SA that real change lies in every driver, organisation and entity playing their part in reducing road fatalities. Thus, even without statistics showing exact causes of the 13.9% reduction, full and unwavering commitment to driving safely, is what will bring consistent reductions to high fatality rates. The RSP-SA supports the UN’s objective to reduce fatalities by 50% by 2030 and full commitment from every road user is what will help achieve this.”

As we enter the first holiday period since December, South Africans must aim for the same encouraging results. “To every driver that will be behind the wheel during this time, we wish you a safe and uneventful time on the road,” says the RSP-SA.