BOOOZE FREE: The Western Cape department of transport and public works is urging drivers to keep #BoozeFreeRoads this festive season as road deaths have already spiked for December 2015. Image: iStock
Cape Town - The first 14 days (December 1 - 14) of the 2015/16 festive season has seen a slight increase in the number of fatalities on Western Cape roads, reports the transport department.
Comparative road deaths are up 12% from 51 in 2014 to 58 deaths so far in December 2015.
'Spike in passenger deaths'
Minister of Transport and Public works Donald Grant said: "Even more concerning is the spike in passenger deaths in the same period (from 6 deaths in 2014, to 18 deaths this December thus far). Saturday, December 12, saw the highest number of deaths on a single day since the beginning of the month: 11 deaths including 8 passengers and 3 pedestrians. Some fatal crashes have been reported in areas like the N1 near Beaufort West, where high traffic volumes are synonymous with this time of year."
Pedestrian deaths are down by 29% (35 deaths) in 2014, compared to 25 deaths recorded in 2015.
Grant said: "Pedestrian deaths are still far too high, with road death statistics showing that not only are pedestrian deaths continually the leading class of fatality, but also that poorer communities are disproportionately represented in pedestrian death statistics, with black males, aged 20 – 34, being the highest risk demographic.
"With traffic volumes set to increase as the festive season continues, I urge all motorists to be extra mindful of pedestrians on our roads, particularly at night when many pedestrians are likely to have consumed alcohol."
The department urges pedestrians to also ensure that they are highly visible to motorists at all times; that they steer clear of pedestrian no-go areas, namely highways, where it is not only dangerous for pedestrians to walk, but also illegal; and that they do not take to the roads after consuming alcohol. Alcohol consumption and road use remain a deadly combination for all road users, particularly pedestrians.
Freeway hotspots for pedestrian incidents:
• N1 from Brackenfell to Joostenberg Vlakte,
• N2 from Cape Town International Airport to Spine Rd,
• N7 adjacent to Du Noon,
• Vanguard Drive from Masemola Rd to the R300,
• R300 from Vanguard Drive to the N2.
Grant said: "The focus areas for our law enforcement activities remain drink driving, speed, and most importantly at this time, fatigue management. The horrific crashes we see on our roads, particularly on long stretches like the N1 and the N2, can undoubtedly be attributed to one (if not all) of these contributing factors. I encourage all road users to be mindful of the dangers that exist on our roads, and be informed of all these factors as they take to the roads during this busy time.