1 714 deaths recorded on roads over festive season – Minister

Limpopo had highest increase in deaths, moving from 186 fatalities in the previous period to 244 this season

A mother is staring at a picture of a child who won't return - minister on road deaths

10 January 2017

Pretoria - Beyond the festive season's road deaths statistics are the stories of families whose loved ones will never return home.

"There is a mother in a village staring at a picture of a daughter or son that was supposed to come home over the festive season. Since this [the road accidents], their lives will never be the same again," Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday.

She told reporters in Midrand that 1 714 deaths had been recorded on South African roads over the 2016/17 festive season. This was a 5% increase from last season.

Peters said Limpopo had recorded the highest increase in deaths (31%), moving from 186 fatalities in the previous period to 244 this season.

KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State also recorded increases in fatalities at 18% and 17% respectively.

"What is alarming is that the four provinces of KZN, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Limpopo jointly accounted for 61% of the total number of people who died on the roads in this period," Peters said.

There was a decline in fatalities in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape and North West.

Speedster caught doing 239km/h

The Eastern Cape, with 211 fatalities, recorded the biggest decline in deaths (20%), compared to last season when the province had 265 fatalities.

North West recorded a decrease of 8%, Western Cape 6%, and the Northern Cape 5%.

Passengers constituted 40% of fatalities, pedestrians 34%, drivers 24%, and cyclists 2%.

Children up to 4 made up 6% of pedestrian deaths.

Of those who died, 75% were men, 23% were women - a 2% drop from the pervious period.

The period under review saw an introduction of 253 478 additional vehicles on the country's roads, which represents a 2% increase, as well as 506 387 new drivers into the road network, which is a 4% increase.

The fastest speedster, who was arrested in Gauteng, was caught traveling at 239km/h in a Mercedes Benz on the R21 near Tshwane.

"We have come from the most challenging festive season that has caused a strain on our law enforcement, however, we prevailed," Peters said.

This article first appeared on News24, see here