Statistics on the number of crashes and fatalities on South African roads for the 2018/2019 festive season were released today.
There was a 5.6% increase in the death toll compared to the same period last year. At the press briefing, the Transport Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, provided a number of reasons for the high death toll including drinking and driving, recklessness and negligence such as unsafe overtaking, distraction, fatigue, unroadworthy vehicles and stray animals.
The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says it is noteworthy that the highest number of deaths occurred amongst passengers.
“While there are various reasons for this, now is a good time to also consider the role of passengers in ensuring they make it to their destination safely. The misconception that only front passengers need to wear a seatbelt persists. Every passenger needs to make a point to wear their safety belt and drivers should also check that everyone is buckled up before even starting the car.
“Passengers also need to play their role in assisting the driver. This can be as a second set of eyes, reducing distractions for the driver or ensuring that they stop regularly for breaks. If a passenger is not confident in the way their driver is driving, rather express your concern rather than lose your life. Road safety is the responsibility of every road user and should be given the highest priority by all.”
Additionally, Nzimande was also concerned about the number of crashes involving buses and taxis.
“Bus and other public transport drivers are responsible for hundreds of lives, yet, face many more challenges than the average motorist. It is for this reason that MasterDrive is focusing their attention on this important sector of transport with their new MasterBus programme in the coming year.”
Once again reckless driving is playing a major role in the tragedy on the roads.
“We repeatedly stress the importance of each driver accepting responsibility for their own role in the state of our roads. Until each organisation and person commits to obeying the laws of the road, driving courteously and puts genuine effort into becoming a safe driver, we are unlikely to ever see any real and consistent change to these statistics.
“It is a pity that we have regressed from the improvements seen last year. It is even more tragic that so many lives will be affected by the state of the roads this festive season. Our thoughts and condolences go out to every person who lost a loved one,”