Irresponsible and reckless behaviour was again singled out as a contributory factor to the road carnage experienced during the recent festive season, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday morning.
Releasing the preliminary figures for the 2015/16 festive season in Midrand, Peters said the long weekends during December, taking into account the rainfall, were also factors that resulted in the mayhem experienced on the country’s roads. She said there was an influx of drivers who are not eligible to be on the country’s roads.
She warned that those who received their drivers licences through dubious meant that they would be found and re-evaluated.
Three North West traffic police officers, including others from Gauteng, were arrested for taking bribes, while motorists driving without seatbelts were arrested with more than 9 000 people for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Speeding was also a serious challenge during the holiday season in question and the highest speedster was recorded as driving at a speed of 239km.
Limpopo recorded the highest road fatalities during the 2015/16 festive season period, Peters said.
The minister said the province recorded a 31 percent increase in fatalities.
A total of 1 714 deaths were recorded during the festive season, a 5 percent increase from the previous year.
Peters said they were working with the justice ministry to ensure there was a minimum sentence for those caught driving recklessly as well as under the influence of alcohol.
The minister said they would enforce the law and maintain visible policing throughout the year. She said Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo were among the provinces where road carnage was a big problem, especially during holidays.
“Though the picture seems bleak, we remain committed to dealing with lawlessness on our roads,” Peters said.
Chief executive officer of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) Adv Makhosini Msibi added that the most increases in vehicle population on the country’s roads during the past festive season was in Gauteng.
According to Msibi, the vehicle population on the province’s road network stood at just over 38 percent during the past festive season.
He said the number of fatal crashes came in at 1 353 compared with the 1 282 recorded in the previous festive season. He said the crashes normally happened between 8pm and 4am.
He said there was an increase in head-on collisions.
He said that had it not been for the intervention of authorities, the number of fatalities could have easily reached the 3 000 mark. About 75 percent of fatalities were accounted to by males and 81 percent of those who died on our roads were black people, which is in line with the overall demographics of the country.