Decline of 2.3% in fatal road crashes during 2023/24 festive season

While the preliminary results for the 2023/24 festive season road traffic statistics show a 2.3% decline in the number of fatal crashes when compared to the same period last year, the data indicates that the majority of those who died were between the ages of 25 and 44. Releasing the 2023/24 festive season road traffic statistics, Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga said during the period under review 1 184 fatal crashes were recorded compared to 2022/23 where 1 212 crashes were recorded. 'The period shows that human factors contributed 80.8% of the crashes, environmental factors contributed 10.4% as a result of heavy rainfall and storms, while vehicle factors contributed about 8.8%. 'According to the statistics, 40.9% of those who died were pedestrians, passengers accounted for 33.6%, drivers accounted for 24.6% and cyclists accounted for 0.8%,' Chikunga said on Wednesday in Johannesburg at the N1 Grasmere Toll Gate. She accredited the decline in fatal crashes to the intensified law enforcement ope rations conducted and the high police visibility throughout the country. More than 1.4 million vehicles were stopped and checked during these operations with 7 820 drivers arrested for, among other things, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, producing false documentation and excessive speeding. The Minister noted that the festive period was marked by heavy rain and storms, which created challenges on the road. 'Unfortunately, some drivers did not modify their speed in slippery and wet conditions. That resulted in avoidable crashes. Most of the crashes occurred in the first week from 1 December to 5 December, again from 15 December - 21 December and from 22 December to 28 December. The first week incorporated the payday weekend when people had received bonuses and were having end of year parties. 'The third week incorporated the long weekend, industry closure and the people had started travelling while the fourth week incorporated the Christmas long weekend and saw a massive increase in traffic volumes and festivities. 'Most crashes took place in the evening between 7pm and 10pm with the peak between 8pm and 9pm. Most fatalities were also recorded on Sundays, which is a new trend,' Chikunga said. Five provinces - including the Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Limpopo and North West - recorded fewer fatalities while other provinces recorded increases. The provincial breakdown for provinces is as follows: Free State recorded a 27.4% decline. Eastern Cape recorded a 21.5% decline. Northern Cape recorded a 15.7% decline. Limpopo recorded an 8.4% decline. North West recorded a 2.1% decline. Gauteng recorded a 7.6% increase. KwaZulu-Natal recorded a 4.2% increase. Mpumalanga recorded a 9.7% increase. Western Cape recorded a 22.6% increase 'The Eastern Cape is the only province that managed to surpass the target set for it to reduce fatalities by at least 18.6%. In light of this, we will have serious engagements with authorities in the provinces and possibly redefine the tar gets informed by objective dynamics and available resources on the ground in the provinces,' the Minister said. She said the number of registered vehicles at the start of the festive season campaign on 1 December 2023, stood at 13 133 035, which was significantly higher than the 12 964 430 registered on 1 December 2022 and thus bringing more 168 000 registered vehicles on to the road. 'I wish to commend our traffic officers, members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and emergency medical services for their sterling work, commitment, and dedication during this period. They sacrificed their family time and pleasure as they committedly enforced the law,' Chikunga said. Source: South African Government News Agency