Concern over spike in road deaths over Easter

Concern over spike in road deaths over Easter

The Automobile Association (AA) has expressed grave concern over the rise in road deaths over the Easter weekend. The association believes it may, when the final numbers are in, be the highest Easter death toll to date.

Traffic Gauteng rain weather 7_jacanews
Photo: Faith Daniels, JacarandaFM News

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi released the preliminary Easter long weekend road crash statistics on Friday morning.


The number of fatalities increased by 79 (51 percent) from 156 to 235. 


"Last year's preliminary figures, released shortly after the Easter period of 2016, indicated 156 deaths on our roads over the period. However, when the 30-day waiting period was over (which is customary when calculating final numbers) the fatalities rose to by 57 percent to 245. If the same applies this year, the final figure may be as high as 370 fatalities," the AA said. 


According to the AA, not enough is being done to stop the carnage on our roads.  

"One of the first steps needed now is for the Department of Transport, the RTMC, provincial road traffic authorities, and NGOs involved in road safety, including the AA, to begin looking at how this situation can be turned around for the festive period at the end of the year. Unless proper implementable plans are formulated, and put in motion now, we fear a repeat of these numbers."


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Meanwhile, the Justice Project South Africa's (JPSA) Howard Dembovsky said the Department of Transport, RTMC and all road traffic law enforcement authorities continue to only put on 'shows of strength' during holiday periods, something which has proven to be ineffective.


"The assertion by Minister Maswanganyi that 'South Africa is not a Police State and therefore cannot deploy traffic officers everywhere' is simply nonsensical, more especially in light of the fact that it is a worldwide phenomenon that road users will behave as badly as the authorities allow them to behave and each time that a road user 'gets away' with disobeying the rules of the road and other provisions of traffic law, the habitual nature of this negative behaviour is strengthened," said Dembovsky.

He said nothing can be reasonably expected to change until such time as road traffic law enforcement becomes about road safety and not generating revenue.

However, Dembovsky said denying serious road traffic offenders bail is not the answer.


"Proper, effective prosecution and consequences upon conviction is. Furthermore, such convictions should not take years to achieve since justice needs to be swift and seen to be done in order to begin to address the situation and have the effect of acting as an effective deterrent to other would-be offenders."

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