From the news desk

Almost 500 deaths on SA roads since Dec 1st

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Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters has confirmed that between the 1st to the 13th of this month already 487 people have been killed on the country’s roads. Last month Peters reaffirmed that she will give directives to ensure that the National Road Safety Strategy is fully implemented by June next year. The Road Traffic Management Cooperation will set up roadworthy testing stations on all major roads across the country over this festive season.

In the Western Cape, there was an increase in the rate of passenger deaths. Statistics have shown that at least 58 deaths have occurred thus far with the most being in one incident which saw 11 deaths including eight passengers and three pedestrians. In comparison to last year’s figures, the rate of road deaths grew by 12% in the Western Cape. The number of passenger deaths climbed from last year’s count of six deaths to this year’s count of 18 deaths, all occurring under the first half of December. The pedestrian death rate has taken a slight decline of 29% in comparison to last year’s rate, with the death count going from 35 deaths to 25 deaths.

Western Cape Transport and Public Works spokesperson Siphesihle Dube said the hotspots for this year include the N1 from Brackenfell to JoostenbergVlakte, N2 from Cape Town International Airport to Spine Road, N7 adjacent to Du Noon, Vanguard Drive from Masemola Road to the R300 and the R300 from Vanguard Drive to the N2.

“We urge all road users to be mindful of these hotspot areas and to be very careful and aware of where pedestrians are,” Dube said.

With concerns around pedestrian safety in these hotspots, Dube said extra resources are being exhausted to stabilise the death rates.

“We do have visible traffic policing in these areas, where we know that a lot of these incidents occur and we know what time these incidents tend to occur from data collected in the past. So we have messages airing on the airwaves to inform people of some of the dangerous behaviour that we see on our roads at this time, urging them to be mindful,” he explained.

The Western Cape government had a special campaign that was run last month focussing particularly on pedestrians, urging them to wear reflective clothing when walking in the night. Dube said in addition to this, precautionary measures have been taken in attempt to ensure stability of the rate of road deaths in general. He explains that a full-on enforcement plan is being run all across the country, with participation from social media using the hashtag #BoozeFreeRoads.

Notices are also being placed all across highways to encourage safe road use and radio and TV media are being used to promote road safety awareness on a broader scale. Dube mentioned that a contribution towards road safety should come from both motorists and passengers. He advised that pedestrians need to avoid walking on highways as it is illegal and to avoid drinking whilst walking, as this has also been a contributing factor to pedestrian deaths.

“Motorists should drive soberly and ensure that their passengers are buckled up. They should also remain hydrated and take a break every two hours when hitting the long road.” VOC (Minaaz Allie)

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