Traffic Authorities Issue Warning as Pay Day Weekend Fatalities on the Rise
Joint Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works, and Provincial and City Traffic Authorities
Pay day weekends continue to be a major concern for road safety authorities. Pay Day Blues refers to Code Blue, which means a fatality emergency services communication. Since the launch of our first Pay Day Blues campaign last month, we have continued to see very high levels of road deaths and injuries over these weekends.
In September, we announced that the worst weekend death toll of the year was 26, which occurred on the main July pay day weekend, from Friday, 1 to 3 August.
That depressing record was broken almost immediately. September’s main pay day weekend, from Friday 26 September to Sunday 28 September, saw 31 Pay Day Blues in the Western Cape. Sixteen of those fatalities were vehicle occupants whose bodies were recovered outside the vehicle, a sure sign of not being buckled up.
This October Transport Month, the figures have been grim, with 83 people killed on the road so far.
Weekend figures this month have been:
- Weekend one, Friday 3 October – Sunday 5 October:12
- Weekend two, Friday 10 October – Sunday 12 October: seven
- Weekend three, Friday 17 October - Sunday 19 October: 13 (partial pay day weekend, e.g. Western Cape Government).
- Weekend four, Friday 24 October - Sunday 26 October: 17 (partial pay day weekend, due to 25 October falling on the Saturday).
This coming weekend will be the Pay Day Weekend for the majority of salaried workers in the province. We are thus issuing the following advice to road users:
- Do not mix alcohol and road use. Driving or walking on the roads while intoxicated is a quick way to an early grave. Use public transport if you intend drinking alcohol. Remember that we will be on the roads, all night, all weekend, and you could end up in jail if you choose to get behind the wheel after drinking.
- If you are travelling in a vehicle, always wear your seatbelt, in the front and back seats – this one second step doubles your chance of surviving a crash. You can also avoid a R1 000 fine.
- Never exceed the speed limit.
- Exercise extreme caution while driving during the following times:
- Friday nights, from 18:00 until midnight.
- Saturday mornings, from 6:00 until 10:00.
- Saturday nights, from 18:00 until 4:00.
- Sunday afternoons, from 15:00 until 21:00.
Pay day means more money available for people to travel, shop and visit loved ones, but it also means more money available for the purchase of alcohol. Greater mobility and greater access to alcohol are reflected in spikes in the death rate over pay day weekends. While further data analysis is required to isolate all of the factors involved, the public are warned to please exercise extra caution over this time.