Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise at Beginning of Festive Season
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
The first 14 days (1 December to 14 December 2014) of the festive season have seen a slight 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 14% from 57 in 2013 to 49 deaths so far this December, which is indicative of improved behaviour and attitudes towards road safety, pedestrian incidents however remain unacceptably high.
Most concerning thus far is that 69% (34 deaths of the total 49 deaths in the first 14 days of December 2014) of those deaths have been pedestrians. Pedestrian deaths are themselves up from 27 pedestrian deaths in 2013 to 34 pedestrian deaths this year, an increase of 26%.
Throughout the year, similar trends have emerged, with pedestrian deaths being notably higher than any other class of fatality. Road death statistics have shown that poorer communities are disproportionately represented in pedestrian deaths, with black males, aged 20 – 34, being the highest risk demographic. Recent studies have also shown a link between pedestrian deaths and alcohol consumption, with alcohol being found to be present in 58% of pedestrian fatalities where blood was tested, and in 90% of male pedestrians that were killed at night.
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 are also urged to be highly visible to motorists at all times, as well as to steer clear of pedestrian no-go areas, namely highways, where it is not only dangerous for pedestrians to walk, but also illegal. Alcohol consumption and road use remains a deadly combination for all road users, particularly pedestrians.
Freeway Hotspots for Pedestrian Incidents
- N1 from Brackenfell to Joostenberg Vlakte.
- N2 from Cape Town International Airport to Spine Rd.
- N7 adjacent to Du Noon.
- Vanguard Drive from Masemola Rd to the R300.
- R300 from Vanguard Drive to the N2.
Safely Home has launched a multimedia campaign focused on the dangers associated with alcohol and road use. The campaign is live on the Safely Home website and twitter (@WCGovSafelyHome, #BoozeFreeRoads), and is supported by radio advertisements on various radio stations, as well as campaign posters at key locations.
Weekend Enforcement Statistics
This weekend’s 20 alcohol blitz roadblocks across the Western Cape saw a total of 2 353 vehicles stopped as part of Provincial Traffic Services safety campaign. A total of 1 400 drivers were screened resulting in 43 arrests.
The highest breath alcohol reading was recorded in Somerset West at 1.61 mg/1 000 ml, which is six times the legal limit of 0.24 mg/1 000 ml.
A total of 6 151 vehicles were screened for speeding of which 613 speeding offences were recorded. Two hundred and sixty three (263) fines were issued for various traffic violations ranging from driver to vehicle fitness in the amount of R 349 650.
Highest Speeds Recorded
- 158 km/h in a 120 km/h zone on the N1 in the Brackenfell service area.
- 157 km/h in a 100 km/h zone on the N1 in the Worcester service area.
- 134 km/h in a 70 km/h zone on the N2 in the Somerset West Service area.
- 86 km/h in a 60 km/h zone on the N2 in the Oudtshoorn Service area.
The focus areas for our law enforcement partners remain drink-driving, speed and most importantly at this time, fatigue management. The horrific crashes we see on our roads, particularly on the long stretches like the N1 and the N2, can no doubt be attributed to one (if not all) of these contributing factors. I encourage all road users to be mindful and informed of all these factors as they take to the roads during this busy time.