Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
The first 20 days (1 December to 20 December 2016) of the festive season have seen an 11% decrease in the number of fatalities on Western Cape roads compared to the figures for the same time last year. Comparative road deaths are down from 99 in 2015, to 88 deaths so far in these first 20 days of December.
A concerning trend in the past 20 days, however, has been the increase in the number of pedestrian deaths in the province during this time. Pedestrian deaths are up from 37 deaths in 2015, to 41 deaths in 2016. Saturday, 17 December 2016, saw the highest number of deaths on a single day since the beginning of December: 12 deaths, including 4 passengers, 4 drivers, and 3 pedestrians.
With traffic volumes set to increase as the festive season continues, I urge all motorists to be extra mindful of pedestrians on our roads, particularly at night when many pedestrians are likely to have consumed alcohol.
Pedestrians must be extra vigilant and ensure that they are highly visible to motorists at all times; that they steer clear of pedestrian no-go areas, namely highways, where it is not only dangerous for pedestrians to walk, but also illegal; and that they do not take to the roads after consuming alcohol. Alcohol consumption and road use remain a deadly combination for all road users, particularly pedestrians.
Our roads safety initiative, Safely Home, has recently launched the “Ubuthakathi” television commercial which is part of our “Alcohol and Roads Don’t Mix” theme, focussing on pedestrians that are under the influence.
The campaign is live on the Safely Home website, www.safelyhome.westerncape.gov.za, twitter: @WCGovSafelyHome hashtag #BoozeFreeRoads, and is supported by radio advertisements on various leading radio stations, and VMS message board messages on busy highways. #BoozeFreeRoads was specifically targeted at both motorists and pedestrians, with drinking and driving, as well as drinking and walking, both proving to be a deadly combination on our roads.
The focus areas for our law enforcement activities remain drink driving, speed, and most importantly at this time, fatigue management.
The horrific crashes we see on our roads can undoubtedly be attributed to one (if not all) of these contributing factors. I encourage all road users to be mindful of the dangers that exist on our roads, and be informed of all these factors as they take to the roads during this busy time.