There was a 35 percent reduction in road deaths and a 42 percent reduction in crashes since the start of the 2014 festive season compared to the same period last year, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Wednesday.
“We have registered some decline in relation to the crashes and fatalities compared to the previous year,” she said in a speech prepared for delivery.
“The 2014 fatal crashes are 539 resulting in 677 fatalities while last year we had 764 fatal crashes resulting in 917 fatalities.”
Peters addressed the media in Pretoria on Wednesday.
She said passengers were mostly affected in crashes, followed by pedestrians.
Passengers accounted for 37 percent of fatalities, pedestrians 35 percent, drivers 25 percent, cyclists two percent, and one percent were unclassified.
“We are deeply concerned with the number of fatalities on our roads since one death is one too many and I wish to make an impassioned plea to all those that will be using our roads and travelling to various destinations to use our roads responsibly.”
“We are still confronted with challenges pertaining to attitude of road users and irresponsible usage of our roads,” she said.
The figures were from December 1 to December 23, 2014.
She said it was “worrying to note” that light motor vehicles contributed 26 percent to accidents, light delivery vehicles 21 percent, minibuses nine percent, trucks seven percent, buses one percent, and other vehicles 16 percent.
Peters said the department approached the remaining days of the festive season with “mixed feelings”.
“It is disturbing that some of these senseless carnages could have been avoided,” she said.
“Road traffic fatalities are among the main causes of death in South Africa. This results in serious social and economic costs for the country.”
She said motorists still travelling should ensure that their vehicles were roadworthy, that drivers took regular breaks, and adhered to speed limits.
She said people should not cross the road when it was not safe to do so, not drink and drive, and not drink and walk. SAPA