Easter death toll continues to rile
The official number of road fatalities over the 2016 Easter weekend (March 24 to 28) has been quoted by the minister of transport as 156, representing a 46-percent reduction from 287 fatalities during 2015.
“A seeming 46-percent reduction in road fatalities is no cause for celebration and it is most certainly no reason for motorists to let their guard down,” comments the Justice Project South Africa (JPSA).
“Without detracting from the efforts made by dedicated law enforcement officials, who were out in force over the Easter period, we remind the public that the Human Rights Day long weekend saw terrible carnage on our roads.
“JPSA also acknowledges the efforts of the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s (RTMC’s) anti-corruption unit in arresting two corrupt traffic officers over the Easter weekend,” the organisations states.
The Automobile Association (AA) of South Africa has also added its response.
“While these figures are encouraging, they remain shockingly high. We are concerned that they don’t present the full picture of what is happening on our country’s roads. We saw an alarming increase of 14 percent in road deaths over the December festive period, compared to the previous year,” the Association notes. “This drop in Easter deaths may simply be an anomaly.”
“We are encouraged that the increased visibility of traffic officers is seen as an important reason for the decline in the number of road deaths,” the AA adds. The minister noted that the major causes of road deaths this year were pedestrians not walking safely, fatigue, inconsiderate and reckless driving and drunk driving.
During the period, 913 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and 502 for excessive speeding.
“All of these causes again point to a general poor attitude among drivers and pedestrians. Government, as well as motorists in general, need to urgently do more to improve this before a meaningful reduction in road deaths may be realised in South Africa,” the AA concludes.