Festive season road statistics: Cape boasts 23% decline in fatalities

a man holding a sign(C) Provided by The South African

Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works, Bonginkosi Madikizela has released the 2019/2020 festive season road safety statistics and it proves to be quite promising with a 23% decline in fatalities compared to the previous year.  During a media briefing on Wednesday 29 January 2020, Madikizela confirmed the welcomed decline over the period of 1 December 2019 to 15 January 2020.

Western Cape festive season fatality statistics

The verified fatality statistics during that period is 160 fatalities compared to 207 deaths in 2018. This figure is based on the above 30-day principle of fatalities.

This is a reduction of 23% in overall road fatalities for the province. The 30-day principle of fatalities takes into account when a crash occurred and whether injured persons succumb to fatalities in the hospital within 30 days. Only then it will be counted as part of the fatalities for the period under review.

A notable decrease was recorded on overall provincial roads, with 115 fatalities in 2018/19 compared to 52 deaths in 2019/20. Regrettably, fatalities recorded on municipal roads increased from 92 in 2018/19 to 108 in 2019/20.

Increase in traffic volumes over festive season   

Madikizela said the department has seen a significant influx in traffic from all parts of the country into the Western Cape when compared to the previous year’s figures. 

“This change is largely attributable to the change in drought conditions being experienced. Likewise, many Western Cape residents travel on our main roads as they leave the province to spend some time with their families in other parts of the country,” he said. 

School and industry closures, as well as their reopening, including long weekends, also add to the significant increase in traffic volumes.

The minister explained that this adds pressure on all law enforcement agencies to implement their operational mandate to ensure the effective and safe traffic flow on roads. 

Western Cape enforced more operations in 2019

In total, 5 445 719 vehicles entered the province in 2019 compared to 4 908 481 vehicles in 2018. Provincial Traffic stopped and checked 218 017 vehicles in 2019 compared to 132 760 in 2018. The number of vehicles weighed at weighbridges increased to 54 898 in 2019 compared to 36 944 in 2018.

Traffic Law Enforcement operations and roadblocks that were conducted increased to 2 081 in 2019 compared to 1 242 in the previous year in 2018. The number of speed operations increased to 1007 in 2019 compared to 652 in 2018. The number of drunken driving operations also increased to 1074 in 2019 compared to 591 in 2018.

Additionally, 493 people were arrested for drunken driving during the Festive Season. Additionally, 35 motorists were arrested for trying to bribe traffic officers when they were arrested for a variety of offences ranging from overloading, operating public transport vehicles with no operating licences or contrary to permits amongst others.

Highest speeds over festive season

  • 173km/h in a 120km zone in the Beaufort West service area
  • 187km/h in a 100km zone in the Laingsburg service area
  • 125km/h in a 80km zone in the Vredendal service area
  • 114km/h in a 70km zone in the Knysna service area
  • 104km/h in a 60km zone in the Knysna service area

The highest alcohol reading recorded is 1.84mg/1000ml which is seven times over the legal limit in the Mossel Bay traffic centre.

“While every death is one too many, this represents a significant year-on-year improvement of the work done by our Provincial Traffic Services who conduct 24/7 operations on provincial roads. No one should be killed or injured on our roads,” said Madikizela. 

“I am, however, seriously concerned about the high number of pedestrians who are dying on our roads.

In total, 74 pedestrians were killed on our roads between 1 December 2019 and 15 January 2020,” he added. 

“I appeal to road users to respect the rule of law and know there’s no place to hide in the Western Cape.

We have eyes everywhere,” he said.