Authorities believe that Capetonians are more prone to road accidents on pay day weekends. Analysis of 2014 fatalities data indicates that fatalities on pay day weekends spike by as much as 23.6% compared to other weekends. While on average, 3.6 people are killed every day on Western Cape roads, this rises to an average of 6.2 people per day over pay day weekends.
August 2014 saw the worst weekend recorded this year, with 26 fatalities over the pay day weekend starting 1st August. The following pay day weekend, which began on 29th August, saw a further 20 people killed, according to the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works.
Motorists, pedestrians and all road users can avoid becoming a pay day weekend fatality:
· Do not mix alcohol and road use. Driving or walking on the roads while intoxicated is a quick way to an early grave. Use public transport if you intend drinking alcohol.
· If you are travelling in a vehicle, always wear your seatbelt, in the front and back seats – this one second step doubles your chance of surviving a crash.
· Never exceed the speed limit.
Officials say drivers must exercise extreme caution during the following times:
o Friday nights, from 6pm until midnight.
o Saturday mornings, from 6am until 10am.
o Saturday nights, avoid driving completely if possible, from 6pm until 4am.
o Sunday afternoons, from 3pm until 9pm.
“Pay day means more money available for people to travel, shop and visit loved ones, but it also means more money available for the purchase of alcohol,” said the department’s spokesperson Siphesihle Dube.
“Greater mobility and greater access to alcohol are reflected in spikes in the death rate over pay day weekends. While further data analysis is required to isolate all of the factors involved, the public are warned to please exercise extra caution over this time.”
Follow the campaign on Twitter, @WCGovSafelyHome and follow #PayDayBlues.