14 071 people died on SA roads last year

The Automobile Association of South Africa said it was deeply concerned by the statistics on road deaths, recently released by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

According to the RTMC, 14 071 people died on South African roads in 2016, which equates to an increase of nine percent from the previous year. The figures are an indictment on South African motorists and road users, but are also a symbol of the failure by authorities to make South African roads safer for motorists to travel on.

“The annual road fatality statistics for 2016, published recently by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), are cause for great concern, and point to an urgent need for combined interventions from everyone involved in road safety in South Africa to curb the rising numbers,” read a statement released by the AA this week.

“This is the highest annual road death toll since 2007 when 14920 people died on South African roads. In 2006, 15419 people died on the country’s roads,” continued the AA statement.

The first port of call will be to address the root causes of these accidents, to establish why it has become exceedingly difficult to curb road deaths in South Africa.

“Human factors are indicated as the biggest contributor to road crashes and fatalities, accounting for 77.5 percent of contributing factors. Vehicle factors (6 percent), and road and environmental factors (16.5 percent), make up the balance of contributing factors.

“Among the human factors that lead to crashes, and deaths, are jaywalking pedestrians (38.8 percent), hit and run crashes (18.5 percent), high speed (14.1 percent), overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic (6.9 percent), drunk driving or driving while on drugs (3.6 percent), and driver fatigue (2.2 percent).”

“These figures are alarming, and should worry every motorist in the country. These numbers seem to indicate that awareness campaigns and education initiatives are not working well enough, driver attitudes are getting worse, and that law enforcement is not making the impact it should. We are deeply concerned about these fatalities, more so because they show an increase, and call for urgent action from all role-players involved in road safety to reverse this.”