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'SA road deaths tragic but not surprising'

2016-01-12 14:58

LACK OF ENFORCEMENT: The Justice Project South Africa has responded to the Department of Transport for finally breaking the silence on the 2015/2016 holiday road death stats. Image: Arrive Alive

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.

This represents an average of 42 road deaths per day is a sad indictment of the fact that little or no progress is being made in curtailing the carnage on our roads, says Justice Project South Africa (JPSA).

The Department of Transport reports 1755 lost their lives in 2015 compared to 1535 in 201.

Minister Dipuo Peters responds

Minister Dipuo Peters said: "The preliminary statistics we are releasing today, tell only part of the story about road safety in our country. A situational analysis conducted at the start of this year’s festive season indicated that the number of registered vehicles had increased by a further 340 000 at the start of December last year with 508 054 new driver’s licences issued.

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"Weekends continue unabated to pose a major challenge as ably demonstrated by the recent festive season reality. Most crashes occurred on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The highest fatal crashes were recorded on Saturday at a percentage contribution of 22.2% of the total fatal crashes, followed by Friday and Sunday with 18.8% and 16.9% respectively."

Click here for the transport department's full response

'Enforcement remains poor'

JPSA national chairman Howard Dembovsky said: "This announcement represents a direct contradiction of the RTMC’s spokesperson’s assertion that road deaths have decreased when he accused JPSA of “trying to mislead the public” made on January 5 2016. JPSA is deeply saddened to have been proven right in its assertion that the 2015/16 festive season has been so bad, but is most certainly not surprised.

While there can be no doubt that had there not been an increased presence of law enforcement over the festive season the death toll would have been significantly higher, it is sad that traffic enforcement during the rest of the year remains poor, claims JPSA.

JPSA has repeatedly stated that “it is unreasonable to expect people to drive responsibly over holiday periods when they are allowed to drive as badly as they wish at any other time of the year.”

Dembowsky said: "We stand by our assertion and reinforce it.

"We find it difficult to understand why it is that the Minister of Transport has laid into the media and the Judiciary for allegedly not having road safety at heart, thereby alienating vital partners in the fight towards greater road safety and we hope that neither will take her comments personally.

"It must also be borne in mind that the statistics released today are preliminary statistics and are likely to rise by 30% or more, given the fact that the World Health Organisation’s best practice for road death statistical data keeping requires all signatories to the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety – 2011 to 2020 to monitor those injured in road crashes for 30 days after the crash.

"Therefore, when these figures are finalised, they could easily reach or exceed 2281, thus raising the average daily death toll to 54 per day. This is a far cry from the Statistician General’s claims that 'no more than 5000 people are killed on SA roads annually'.

Read the full article here.


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