Easter road fatalities see massive increase

While South Africa celebrated a decrease of 13.9%, without lockdown restrictions, after the 2022/2023 festive season, following the four-day Easter weekend we should be lamenting the stats. There was a nearly 40% increase in road fatalities with 185 fatal crashes that resulted in 225 deaths. Compared to last year, 59 more people lost their lives this year.

The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, noted the Minister for Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, points to human error as the main cause of crashes. These include speeding, unlicensed vehicles and drivers, not fastening seatbelts and driving with worn tyres. “Human error as a cause, while challenged by tenets of the safe road system, is not a new one. Approximately 95% of crashes are attributed to driver error rather than aspects out of their control.

“It is encouraging that in response to these tragic statistics, Minister Chikunga plans to implement a 365-day road safety campaign where traffic policing will become a 7-day, 24-hour job in an effort to improve enforcement and increase visibility. MasterDrive has always propagated that there are three sectors equally responsible for improved road safety: the government, organisations and drivers themselves. Such a campaign, is a step in the right direction.”

With government’s plan that could potentially have considerable results, what is the next step? “Speeding was the cause of the most accidents. This indicates drivers need to take the next step. Every year speeding is in the top five causes of road fatality rates and, yet, many drivers still engage in this behaviour without hesitation. There is a belief that it will never happen to me Ask yourself, is the ten mins you might arrive earlier, worth the tragic results it can have. Drivers think it will never happen to them… until it does.

“Change to road fatalities, whether over a holiday period or any time during the year, will never happen to the degree it is needed, until drivers take responsibility for their actions on the road. Even if you returned home after Easter unscathed, how many times did you speed, how many near-misses did you have, did you drink and drive or use your cellphone while driving? Your answers should motivate yourself to be a better driver.”

Lastly, is the role organisations play. “Organisations have the greatest means and ability to help drivers affect change. Upskilling drivers does not just benefit them during work hours but they will naturally implement these skills in both their daily work lives and in personal driving.

“A 40% increase is truly a tragedy for this country. To place this in perspective, 225 people is equal to, on average, 56 mass shootings, 28 incidents of the Cape Storm from 2017 and 36 more drivers being hijacked during a four-day period. This does not even account for those seriously injured in these crashes.”

Such a great loss, during what should have been enjoyable time with the family, is a tragedy. “MasterDrive gives their condolences to every family that lost a loved one and to families that were affected by serious injuries to other family members,” says Herbert