MIDRAND – A total of 845 fatalities have already been recorded on South African roads between 1 December and 19 December, says Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.
Addressing the media on Tuesday, Minister Peters said the number of fatalities has increased by 17% compared to the same period in the previous year.
This devastating figure comes despite efforts to campaign for safer driving.
The accidents on the road have been attributed to the inclement weather, in particular wet surfaces, human and vehicle contributing factors from drunk and fatigued drivers to overloaded vehicles.
In a televised interview, the Minister referred to the latest “vrrr pah” challenge in South Africa (revving and sparking – see videos below) as being to blame, and also said “we have to do everything in our might to deal with the male stubborn and chauvinistic attitude as they account for 78.4% of fatalities and 89.4% being Black.”
In fact ‘human factors’ account for 82% of the fatalities.
“Surprisingly pedestrian jaywalking accounts for 30.7%, speed account for 15.2%, hit and run accounting for 10.2% and overtaking facing oncoming vehicles 7.6%.”
In Gauteng – 2,509 motorists have been arrested for drinking and 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.
Men account for 78.4% of fatalities. Women account for 21.2%.
Minister Peters called upon the media, faith-based organisations and all of society to partner with government to “educate, pray and plead with our communities to take care of their own lives. One death is one death too many.”
She said: “These are really trying times. We need everyone to accept that roads are shared spaces and that road safety is everyone’s responsibility.”Video of accident on wet roads in South Africa
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) December 20, 2016
Watch South Africa’s Vrrr Phaaa Challenge
— First Lady (@Shandu_1stLady) December 20, 2016