The MEC for Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Vusi Shongwe’s reaction comes after the release of the Festive Season Road Safety statistics by the Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga.
Compared to the previous festive season, the province had an increase in the number of crashes, fatalities, serious injuries, and slight injuries. Crashes increased from 802 to 808.
These crashes have contributed to the increase in fatalities, which was 158 during the previous festive season and 169 for the period under review.
Meanwhile, the province has recorded 609 serious injuries and 894 slight injuries, respectively, for the period under review.
The previous festive season produced 484 serious injuries, while about 819 people were slightly injured.
Most fatalities were recorded on the N4 toll road, followed by R23, R40, R33, R37, and R573 roads. The statistics have further revealed that municipal roads have also recorded a high number of crashes.
Most of the crashes took place due to loss of control and overturning, dangerous overtaking, which resulted in head-on collisions, side-swipe, and head-rear collisions.
The province recorded about 40 pedestrian fatalities compared to the previous period. There was a decline of four fatalities in this category. Out of all the crashes recorded, sedans were mostly involved, followed by light delivery vehicles, mini-bus taxis, and articulated trucks.
Most of these crashes happened between 14:00 and 22:00 between Saturdays and Tuesdays.
As part of implementing the Festive Season Road Safety Campaign, the officials stopped and checked about 193 678 vehicles in various operations that were conducted across the province. Over 75 000 were also taken through various weighbridges across the province.
More than 31 000 summonses were issued to motorists for offenses varying from excessive speeding, overtaking on barrier line, disregard for traffic signals, stopping on freeways, and driving vehicle defects to mention but a few.
About 11 419 summonses were issued for speed. 998 vehicles were impounded and 535 discontinued.
Over and above this, 298 motorists were arrested. About 103 drivers were arrested for drunken driving, 110 failed pay their traffic fines, and had warrants executed for them and 38 for excessive speed.
MEC Shongwe says that these crashes are an indication that more still needs to be done to educate motorists about road safety and driver behaviour.
He also states that traffic officers cannot be found in all corners of the province therefore, motorists must play their part by always obeying the rules.
“We can overcome the scourge of road crashes if we can understand that road safety is not the responsibility of government alone. We need everyone to play their part in ensuring safety on our roads. but by also reporting any bad driving,” Shongwe says.
He mentions that the department together with its stakeholders will continue to improve road safety strategies.
He thanks the law enforcement officers who worked tirelessly during the holiday season saying they should not be discouraged by these statistics. He says that without the commitment of law enforcers, the situation could have been worse.
He also praises all stakeholders, including the media, for their participation in government’s road safety initiatives.
“We also appreciate the motorists who continue to obey the rules of the road, because we could have recorded even more crashes and fatalities had it not been their good behaviour,” he says.
Meanwhile, the MEC calls on all law enforcement officers not to tolerate any disregard for the rules or reckless and negligent driving.
He sends his heartfelt condolences to all the families who have lost their loved ones during the festive season, and he also wishes those who may still be in various hospitals across a speedy recovery.