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2013-05-25 10:12

CHANGE IN DRIVING BEHAVIOUR NEEDED: SA's grisly road death toll has earned us the worst ranking amongst 36 countries.

Crashes on SA's roads costs our economy more than R300-billion a year, according to the International Transport Forum's 2013  road safety annual report.

South Africa ranked bottom of 36 countries in road fatalities with 27.6 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants. Other developing countries included in the report did way  better: Argentina and Colombia reached 12, Malaysia was second-worst with 23.8.

PUTTING STRAIN ON TRANSNET

Developed countries such as North America listed at 10.4, Australia only 5.6. So much for mass road blocks and traffic blitzes.

The R307-billion cost racked up by crashes puts additional strain on Transnet as it puts its budget into an ambitious seven-year infrastructure build programme.

South Africa joined the forum's international traffic safety data and analysis group (Irtad) in 2012 as an observer and is one of a handful of developing countries included in the latest road safety report. The data was provided by the Road Traffic Management Corporation.

Stephen Perkins, head of research at the ITF, said the report was based on police data from each country but that integration between this and hospital records was still necessary to derive the real cost. One Wheels24 source puts SA's annual death toll closer to 20 000 a year instead of the official 14 000 because of inefficient reporting systems.

PEDESTRIANS AT RISK

Provisional data for 2012 showed fatalities from crashes had decreased slightly to 12 200, as opposed to the 14 000 seen in 2011.

The report stated: "Pedestrians are particularly at risk, and represent more than 35% of all reported fatalities."

The research noted that the number of vehicles in South Africa had doubled in the last 20 years and that from 1990 to 2011 the number of road deaths rose by 25%.

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