Let’s save lives on the roads over Easter

CityPress - - Voices -

Ato­tal of 156 peo­ple died on the coun­try’s roads over the Easter week­end last year. In 2015, 287 peo­ple died, so last year’s fig­ure rep­re­sents a 46% re­duc­tion in mor­tal­ity.

The re­duc­tion was at­trib­uted to a higher rate of vis­i­bil­ity of traf­fic au­thor­i­ties on ma­jor high­ways across the coun­try.

Fast-for­ward to the Christ­mas hol­i­day sea­son – statis­tics rose again. Last De­cem­ber, 1 714 deaths were recorded, up from 1 629 in 2015. Al­co­hol and reck­less driv­ing were mostly blamed for the 4% in­crease in the death rate.

Driver fa­tigue, drunk and reck­less driv­ing, and pedes­tri­ans be­ing hit by cars were the ma­jor causes of the deaths.

What we failed to look at was what caused the in­crease in De­cem­ber af­ter a de­crease the pre­ced­ing Easter. Did we build on what led to the de­crease in Easter by de­ploy­ing more traf­fic of­fi­cers on the roads dur­ing the De­cem­ber hol­i­days?

The Easter week­end is a time when South Africans and those from neigh­bour­ing coun­tries tra­di­tion­ally take long trips home to see their loved ones. Most would have last been home in De­cem­ber, and they’ll want to see their fam­i­lies again.

As the week­end ap­proaches, road users are en­cour­aged to take ex­tra care dur­ing their jour­neys to en­sure that they ar­rive at their des­ti­na­tions and then re­turn home safely.

The mes­sage can­not be em­pha­sised enough. Do not drink and drive – if you do, you are put­ting your life and the lives of oth­ers at risk. Make sure you stop reg­u­larly dur­ing the trip so that you can stretch your legs and avoid fa­tigue set­ting in. Driv­ers who are tired should not be al­lowed to con­tinue on their jour­neys. Also en­sure that your ve­hi­cles are road­wor­thy.

On top of all this, we need the traf­fic au­thor­i­ties to be vis­i­ble. In fact, they should man their posts even when we’re not cel­e­brat­ing a hol­i­day.

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