An Easter road tragedy

The road fatalities for the four-day Easter period were released and it is one of the largest increases that the country has seen. According to the Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, there were 185 fatal crashes that resulted in 225 deaths in a short space of time.

The Road Safety Partnership South Africa (RSP-SA) says this almost 40% increase is discouraging especially after South Africa saw a 13.9% decrease during the festive season. “This was promising as it was one of the highest seen, post-lockdown, in many years. It is a shame that this momentum was not maintained but instead there was a dramatic increase compared to the same period last year.

“Minister Chikunga said the top five causes of crashes over the weekend were speeding, unlicensed vehicles and drivers, not fastening seatbelts and driving with worn tyres. All these causes could have been prevented which makes this tragedy even worse. The RSP-SA sees this as motivation to continue their efforts in raising awareness of the dangers of taking these kinds of risks on the road.”

Again, pedestrians were the main victims on the road over the Easter period. “The stats say that 44.4% of those killed were pedestrians. Both pedestrians and drivers are responsible for ensuring their safety. Both need to make an effort to reduce this statistic before real change can be seen.

“Three provinces can be recognised for their achievements in reducing their fatality rates: Mpumalanga, Western Cape and North West. Let the other six provinces learn from their example and the measures that were taken that assisted in a road fatality rate that did not increase like the national fatality rate did.”

The RSP-SA is encouraged to see that the government is not just reporting the stats and moving on. “We eagerly anticipate the plan mentioned by the Minister to reduce accidents on the road over the next year. The government intends on initiating a 365-day road safety campaign, which will classify traffic policing as a 7-day, 24-hour job. This will increase traffic law enforcement and visibility.

“While an increase of almost 40% is discouraging, let it not dampen the efforts to bring about change. Obstacles are inevitable in overcoming challenges and improving road safety in South Africa is no exception. Let us continue in our efforts and bring about the change the country needs,” says the RSP-SA.