People to blame for record road deaths

More than 203 people have already died on Gauteng roads and the number is set to triple once the New Year and annual holiday return traffic figures are tallied, according to MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.

Nkosi-Malobane noted more pedestrians and motorists had died already than in the entire December holiday season of 2016.

“Most of the road fatalities in the province is because of driver and pedestrian behaviour. Contributing factors are speed as well as drinking and driving, and to some extent texting and driving.”

Nkosi-Malobane said most people dying on Gauteng roads were between the ages of 18 and 35, and were not respecting the rules of the road.

“For example, two 18-year-olds were caught yesterday. One was driving at 127km/h in an 80km/h zone, the other at 138km/h, also in an 80km/h zone,” said Nkosi-Malobane.

“They will die before they reach 20. And unfortunately people won’t be blaming the driver, they will be blaming abatakhathi (witchcraft) and law enforcement. More than 10% of the 59 pedestrians who died were under five years of age. On a national level, minister of transport Joe Maswanganyi said yesterday there had been a “remarkable” rise in traffic volumes.

“Road safety, first and foremost, is an individual road user’s responsibility. Once this notion is lost on any road user: motorists, passengers and pedestrians alike, the battle against road carnage is undermined.”

The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) stated at the beginning of December 14 071 people died on roads in 2016 – the highest annual road death toll since 2007 – while over the festive period last year 1 714 people died.

“These deaths can no longer only be viewed as statistics. As a nation we need to be asking some serious questions about our driving behaviour,” the AA said.

Human factors which lead to crashes and deaths

Jaywalking pedestrians – 38.8%
Hit and run crashes – 18.5%
High speed – 14.1% ɳ Overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic – 6.9%
Drunk driving or driving while on drugs – 3.6%
Driver fatigue – 2.2% – Automobile Association

By Amanda Watson for The Citizen 

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