POLOKWANE – The most affected rural district municipalities in Limpopo are Vhembe, Waterberg, Mopani and Greater Sekhukhune with Limpopo recording 80 road fatalities.
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A total of 510 fatalities were recorded across South Africa from 29 March to 9 April which represents a 14% increase compared to the 449 people who died in the same period last year.Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande, released the official 2018 Preliminary Easter Road Safety Report last week Thursday.
Nzimande said huge delays were experienced in Polokwane at times as motorists were stuck in traffic congestion and were unable to drive out of the inner city to join the N1.
“The absence of the Polokwane Traffic Police to control and direct traffic on such an occasion is a matter of serious concern and the Road Traffic Management Corporation, together with the National Road Safety Steering Committee, will have to investigate this further and ensure it does not happen again.”
He added road crashes rob the country of the skills and talent required to build a prosperous nation and expressed his deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who died on the roads and wish those who were injured a speedy recovery.
He added this year, the Easter period was aligned to the school holiday and as a result, seven days were added to the programme which ran from 29 March to 9 April. The preliminary report presented thus covered a 12-day period instead of the ordinary four days.
The preliminary report shows the main contributory factors to road fatalities are related human behaviour, with male drivers accounting for 71,1% of fatalities and females for 24,1%. Hit and run cases decreased to 16,1% in 2018 compared to 22,8% in 2017.
Altogether 6 435 drivers were caught speeding, 3 208 drivers driving unlicensed vehicles, 300 drivers without driver’s licenses, 2 344 drivers without fastening seat belts and 1 698 drivers driving vehicles with worn tires.
Nzimande said there was unfortunately an increase in the number of vehicles involved in fatal accidents over the extended Easter period this year compared to last year, with the total number standing at 430 compared to 349 the previous year. Most accidents happened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 17:00 and 20:00.
Nzimande said critical routes with high accident rates were identified at the planning phase and traffic law enforcement operations were intensified in these areas.
“However, most of the crashes did not happen on those routes. The majority of crashes happened on unnamed village roads in Limpopo as well as on the N2, N4 and R518.”