The killing never stops
Thousands of people die on our roads every year during the festive season, but the Road Traffic Management Corporation insists fatality figures are dropping
Close to 8 000 people have died on South Africa’s roads during the festive season in the past five years. Although the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) claims that the death toll has been declining over the years, the reality remains that an average of 40 people have been dying every day on the roads during the Christmas and New Year period since 2010. Data made available by the RTMC suggest there has been some decline in the road carnage.
In 2010, more than 1 700 people died on the country’s roads between December 1 and January 5. During the same period in 2014, the death toll was about 1 300.
Although the death toll was measured between the same dates over those two years, it cannot be compared with the intervening years because the transport department’s data-gathering dates changed.
RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said the country’s traffic authorities were winning the war on road deaths.
“The assertion that road carnage is ever increasing is not supported by the facts. From the facts as presented, it is clear that there is a noticeable decline from 2010 to 2014,” said Zwane.
He added that the statistics were verified with other agencies, particularly the SA Police Service and provincial traffic officials, to ensure that they were reliable.
Zwane did not comment on the numbers for this festive period, but based on the department of transport’s announcements between December 1 and 21, at least 725 people have been killed in accidents so far this season. Last year, 668 people were killed during the same period. “This year’s stats will be released at the end of the festive season in January, after a process of verification and validation,” said Zwane.
On Friday, ER24 was called to a scene where a bus had collided with a BMW on the Golden Highway in the south of Johannesburg. One person died and four people were left in a critical condition, including a six-year-old. On the same day, a seven-year-old boy was knocked over and killed by a car in Vereeniging.
Yesterday, 24 people were injured when a bus overturned on the N6 outside Bloemfontein. A woman sustained critical injuries, six people were seriously injured and 17 escaped with minor injuries.
The country’s worst road
It is only 160km long, but Moloto Road, which runs north of Pretoria and passes through three provinces, is one of the country’s most dangerous stretches, having claimed 70 lives in the past two years, according to transport department spokesperson Sam Monareng.
In February, government set aside more than R1 billion to upgrade the notorious road.
Less than a month after the upgrade announcement, a six-year-old child was killed and seven others were injured in a multiple vehicle pile-up involving a Putco bus‚ a minibus taxi and several other vehicles near KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga. In June, a 26-year-old man died on the road after a collision with a truck. Two months later, three people were killed when a sedan hit the back of a Putco bus on the notorious R573 in Mpumalanga. Moloto has been dubbed the Road of Death.
In 2014, six people were killed and one person was seriously injured in an accident near Kameeldrift.
In 2013, the most horrific accident on the road was recorded, in which 29 people died and 30 were injured after a truck drove into the back of a tipper truck before colliding with a bus and a light delivery vehicle. The smash took place near Kwaggafontein, about 100km east of Pretoria.
In 2012, 10 people travelling from a church service died on the road near the Kwaggafontein Plaza, including three members of the same family: a father who was behind the wheel, his wife and their son.
In 2011, a family of four died after the car they were travelling in was hit by a bus outside Pretoria, leaving 30 bus passengers injured.
CARNAGE The scene of a collision in Emalahleni on June 29. Based on department of transport figures, 725 people were killed in accidents between December 1 and 21