The Western Cape road death toll over the festive season has risen significantly in comparison to the same period last year. Ahead of the official release of the statistics, MEC for Transport, Donald Grant says a total of 141 deaths have been registered this festive season while only around 125 deaths occurred on the province’s roads in the previous year.
Speaking to VOC, Grant confirmed that of the 141 road fatalities, 49 are passengers, 49 pedestrians and 28 drivers. While expressing his disappointment in the numbers, Grant attributes the spike to a complete disregard for the rules of the road.
“We do know that this information points to two things: Passengers are not wearing their seatbelts and drivers are not enforcing this rule. Meanwhile, pedestrian deaths account for more than 40% of road fatalities. This means that pedestrians are not walking where they should be and we have found that once a test is done at the morgue, a high alcohol level is detected,” Grant explained.
Around 70% of the incidents which occurred were reported in the Cape Metro and Cape Town. Grant further adds that driver awareness and speed remain the primary causes of these statistics.
National Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters is expected to officially declare the national statistics regarding the festive season road deaths this week. Grant says he plans to meet with Peters and the justice clusters to ascertain what sanctions there are for driver behaviour and attitude.
“Speed, alcohol and fatigue cover more than 80% of the total statistics. That is where we need to concentrate our efforts. If drivers are not going to be in fear of losing their drivers licenses or having them suspended for a time, they not going to change their behaviour. That is what I believe needs to be done and it is something I will be tackling this year,” Grant added. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)