Road deaths: SA is not alone

2013-05-06 13:33

WASHINGTON - South Africa isn’t the only country constantly battling to bring down road-death figures; the US also has a tough problem.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a 2013 report released on May 3 that its initial tally found 34 080 people died in road collisions, up 5.3% and thefirst increase since 2008.

In South Africa, the road death toll during the 2011/2012 festive season alone stood at 1475 and 241 people died during the 2013 Easter long weekend, according to transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele. Some sources say our road death toll is around 20 000 a year.

Problem is, the US has SIX TIMES the population of South Africa but a road-death rate only 2.7 times greater than that of SA.


Although significantly low compared to the rest of the world, the UK’s death toll was also up in 2012. The UK’s department of transport's 2012 figures show 3% more people died - from 1850 fatalities in 2010 to 1901 in 2011.
According to Detroit News writer David Shepardson said the most road deaths was in 2005 when 43 510 people died, meaning road deaths are down 26% since then. The lowest figure was recorded in 2011 - at 32 367, a 60-year-low.

The Governors Highway Safety Association spokesperson said the news was disappointing. "The news, while disheartening, is not surprising. With the improving economy and historically low levels of motor vehicle deaths in recent years, we expected deaths to increase.”

“Highway deaths have been declining significantly in recent years and even with today's projection are dramatically lower than five or 10 years ago."


The spokesman added that motorcycle deaths were: the GHSA is projecting that about 5000 riders died in 2012 - about 14.7% of all traffic fatalities and the worst yet.

According to the Detroit News, some of the fatalities could be linked to the unseasonably warm winter during 2012 with traffic deaths rising to 12.6% within the first three months of the year.

  • Themba Maseko - 2013-05-06 19:07

    Most people use public transport in the UK, but I would like us to look at the number of cars rather population. More accurately at the number of cars per given length of roads available. For instance, the US may have more roads and cars than us and we may have less cars but even lesser roads, hence the ratio of the length of roads in km to number of cars may be higher for the US than for SA. Nonetheless I still feeel that there are more careless drivers in South Africa as a developing than in the US

  • Jacques Steffen - 2013-05-07 08:46

    I have travelled Europe, US, Canada and Australia. South Africa has the worst drivers by miles!!!

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