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Festive season road deaths: SA figures ‘deeply worrying'

2016-01-12 18:36

GRIM TOLL: #FestiveSeasonStats for 2016 has been announced by transport Minister Dipuo Peters and figures continue to be grim for SA. Image: AFP / Carl de Souza

Johannesburg - The release of the 2015/16 festive season road deaths  show a 14% increase in road deaths over the 2014/15 festive season, reports the Department of Transport.

The Department of Transport reports 1755 road users lost their lives in 2015 compared to 1535 in 2014.

AA responds

The Automobile Association (AA) said the department's figures are alarming and concerning and they point to a need for concerted intervention to address the problem of road safety in our country.

The AA said: “We are concerned by these figures which will undoubtedly increase once the final numbers are calculated. 

''We expect that the final figures will be close to 2000 deaths over the period. We are deeply worried by these numbers and extend our condolences to the families and friends of all who lost their lives during this time.''

Read: 'SA road deaths tragic but not surprising'

The Association said while several factors contributed to this figure, the over-riding reason for the road deaths was poor driver attitude and a disregard for the law.

What do you think is the answer to reducing road deaths in SA? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts.

The AA noted: ''Many causes such as drunk driving, speeding, driving without seatbelts and risky overtaking, have been forwarded as reasons for the fatalities, but all of these, essentially, point to poor driver attitudes.

"If drivers don’t take responsibility for their actions, and carry on making decisions that they know to be wrong for their own sake, these figures will simply not improve.''

In addition to improved driver behaviour, the AA believes that better, and stricter, law enforcement is needed. 

Reliable stats needed

The AA also said it is important that government make available the latest in-depth statistics for annual road deaths in South Africa to enable road safety campaigners to assess which initiatives and interventions are working, and which are not. 

The AA said: “Unfortunately the data currently available is from 2011 and does not provide a clear indication of the trends of road deaths. Road crash statistics need to be widely available and accurate to ensure that everyone is working towards reducing crashes and fatalities through an understanding of the true nature of the current problem.” 

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