A total of 845 fatalities have been recorded on South African roads since 1 December till 19 December, says Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.
Addressing the media on Tuesday in Midrand on the state of the Festive Season Road Safety Campaign, Minister Peters said the number of fatalities has increased by 17% compared to the same period in the previous year.
“There are 684 fatal crashes recorded since 1 to 19 December 2016. Nationally, there is an increase of 16% in comparison to the same period in the previous year,” Minister Peters said.
The accidents on the road have been attributed to the inclement weather, in particular wet surfaces, human and vehicle contributing factors.
The provinces that recorded an increase in crashes include KwaZulu-Natal with an increase of 32, while Limpopo increased by 28 and the North West by nine.
Crashes in Mpumalanga increased by 26, Gauteng by three and the Free State by two.
“The Northern Cape has recorded a decrease of four in crash figures, with Eastern Cape and the Western Cape stabilising at the same figure of 82… compared to the same period last year,” Minister Peters said.
Provinces which have recorded an increase in fatalities were Limpopo with 63, Mpumalanga with 44, KwaZulu-Natal with 31, the Free State with 17 and the North West with six.
Provinces which recorded a decrease in fatalities include the Eastern Cape at 31, the Western Cape as well as the Northern Cape with two, while Gauteng stood at four.
In Gauteng, 2 509 motorists have been arrested for drinking and driving.
The Department of Transport continues to engage with the Department of Justice to introduce minimum sentences for negligent and reckless driving.
“We are seeking to reclassify drunken driving from a Schedule 3 [offence]… to a more severe Schedule 5 offence to ensure those who negligently cause crashes on the roads do not get bail easily and spend time behind bars,” Minister Peters said.
Human factors which cause accidents include pedestrian jaywalking at 30.7%, while speed accounted for 15.2%, hit and run accounted for 10.2% and overtaking facing oncoming vehicles was at 7.6%.
Men account for 78.4% of fatalities. Women account for 21.2%.
Passengers accounted for 39.2% of fatalities, while pedestrians accounted for 34.3%. Driver errors contributed to 23.8% of the road fatalities.
Minister Peters encouraged motorists to be responsible on the roads.
“These are really trying times. We need everyone to accept that roads are shared spaces and that road safety is everyone’s responsibility,” Minister Peters said.