Reitumetse Makwea
Journalist
3 minute read
18 Apr 2022
8:24 pm

Officials record fewer accidents over Easter weekend

Reitumetse Makwea

One fatal accident was reported and at least four crashes occurred in total over the weekend which is a significant drop from last year.

Gauteng and Mpumalanga have introduced a 24/7 shift system for traffic officers in their respective provinces. Picture - Twitter.

Although road deaths were predicted to be on an upward trajectory this year, authorities say they were surprised to see lower traffic volumes, crashes and fatalities nationwide, specifically over the Easter long weekend, compared to previous years.

According to N3 Toll Concessions operations manager Thania Dhoogra, there was one fatal accident reported and at least four crash incidents in total were reported over the weekend so far.

Compared to the previous years it showed a good statistic.

“The statistics thus far from a fatality perspective and from a number of crashes perspective over this Easter weekend have been really good. Although any fatality is one too many,” she said.

This as the preliminary statistics from the Easter long weekend indicated that at least 16 road fatalities have been recorded on Gauteng roads, while Easter 2021 road statistics recorded 189 crashes and 235 fatalities nationwide between 2 and 5 April.

Dhoogra said their forecast was that there would be extremely busy traffic volumes on the road on Thursday and Friday last week, with “return traffic from early [on Monday] morning, peaking between 9am and 3pm and that hasn’t really panned out”.

Mbalula Aarto demerit system
Law enforcement agencies at the launch of Easter holidays road campaign at N3 Heidelberg Weighbridge, 31 March 2021, in anticipation of increased traffic volumes. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

“What we have seen [on Monday] is that in the past two hours traffic volumes have increased. We’re now seeing over 1 100 vehicles an hour going to the Mooi River toll plaza,” she added.

“But a typical Easter weekend would have seen us recording volumes of about 2 500 vehicles an hour.”

She also said emergency and law enforcement services continued to be on high alert yesterday, and, if necessary, the Roads Traffic Inspectorate would implement special traffic control measures to manage the flow of traffic.

However, according to some motorists who were driving back to Gauteng following the long weekend, metro police and SA Police Service presence on the road contributed to many motorists not breaking the law or simply taking advantage.

“I’m happy the traffic is moving and this strategy to have police on the road has worked out this time, because traffic is moving swiftly,” said motorist David Leballo.

ALSO READ: Zimbabwe bus crash kills 35 ahead of Easter gathering

Another motorist, Shadi Phalane, said it was true that many road fatalities were mostly due to driver behaviour, including speeding and overloading, and due to police presence, many motorists were on their best behaviour.

“It’s weird that the busiest routes have recorded the least accidents and fatalities, because we know that every Easter weekend, we expect high accident figures,” she said.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula last Tuesday launched the Easter road safety campaign and said 1 823 people lost their lives on the roads in January and February – up from the 1 521 fatalities in the same period last year.

Mbalula said the busiest routes during Easter were the N1 from Gauteng to Limpopo, the N3 from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal, the N2 from the Western Cape to Eastern Cape, the N14 from Gauteng to the North West and the N12.

Gauteng Traffic Police spokesperson Sello Maremane urged motorists to exercise caution when utilising public roads as major roads leading into the province were heavily congested and busy.

“The N1 Polokwane to Pretoria at Carousel toll plaza recorded exactly 2 461 vehicles per hour, while at Phumlani plaza 2 498 were passing through the toll gate,” he said.

“The N4 Mpumalanga to Pretoria recorded about 1 200 vehicles passing through De Hoek toll plaza per hour, on the N3 Durban to Johannesburg 529 vehicles are passing through De Hoek plaza per hour, and N1 Bloemfontein to Johannesburg Grasmere toll plaza recorded just over 700 vehicles passing through per hour.”

He appealed to motorists to avoid unsafe overtaking and speeding and urged all categories of road users to obey the rules of the road. This follows the death of 16 people across the province’s roads so far, with eight of those being pedestrians.

– reitumetsem@citizen.co.za

ALSO READ: 22 Easter weekend deaths recorded in accidents in three provinces so far