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Transport minister Fikile Mbalula at the release of the 2022 Easter road death statistics on April 28 2022. Picture: SUPPLIED
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula at the release of the 2022 Easter road death statistics on April 28 2022. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Automobile Association (AA) has called for double the number of traffic law enforcers on the roads to ensure road safety is maintained.

It was reacting to the reduced number of road deaths this past Easter, announced by transport minister Fikile Mbalula on Thursday. The minister said 162 people died on SA’s roads over the Easter period compared with 235 in 2021. The deaths were the result of 134 fatal crashes in 2022 compared with 189 in 2021. 

He said the number of cars on the roads remained the same except in KwaZulu-Natal where traffic volumes decreased by about 21% because of floods.

“Fewer deaths on our roads are something we naturally welcome and it is encouraging. But the sharp decrease in traffic volumes, especially in KwaZulu-Natal because of the floods over this period, resulted in the fewer deaths,” said the AA.

“Traffic law enforcement efforts during this time cannot be underestimated but we again urge government to urgently implement the findings of the 2019 Traffic Law Enforcement Review Committee to double the number of traffic law enforcers on our roads to ensure these efforts are maintained every day of the year and not only during peak traffic periods.” 

All provinces recorded a decline in fatalities over the Easter period, except for the Western Cape and Mpumalanga, said Mbalula. The Western Cape recorded a 30.8% increase from 26 fatalities in 2021 to 34 in 2022, while Mpumalanga recorded a 27.8% rise from 18 road fatalities to 23.

KwaZulu-Natal registered a 61.1% decline from 54 road deaths in 2021 to 21 in 2022, while Gauteng registered a 33.3% fall with 24 fatalities in 2022.

“Our analysis shows that while the trend of fatalities per time of the day continues to show that most fatalities occur at night, a new phenomenon was noted this Easter with fatalities showing a sharp spike in the early hours of the morning between 4am and 5am.”

Mbalula said law enforcement statistics showed fewer people prosecuted for speeding, drunk driving, driving unlicensed vehicles and driving without fastening seat belts compared with previous years.

A total of 2,395 traffic fines were issued for speeding in 2022 compared with 5,923 in 2021.

A total of 3,494 motorists were fined for operating unlicensed vehicles compared with 5,677 in 2021 and 2,134 drivers were fined for driving without fastening seat belts compared with 2,351 in 2021.

Mbalula said the government aimed to reduce road fatalities by 25% by 2024.

“Improving our law enforcement capability and visibility, as well as upscaling public safety campaigns will continue to gain traction,” he said.

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