Road deaths spike following horror crash this past long weekend
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
Festive season road deaths have increased sharply following an horrific crash in Touwsrivier over the weekend which claimed 12 lives. Amongst those killed in this fatal crash were three children, as well as the driver of the minibus taxi. A full investigation has been launched into the incident, with the assistance of our Provincial Traffic Services.
For the first 18 days of December, a total of 107 people have been killed, which is a notable increase from the 87 who had died over the same period last year, a 23% increase from 2017’s figures. The number of passenger deaths has more than doubled over this period, increasing from 17 deaths in 2017, to 40 deaths this year. This is cause for serious concern.
I urge all motorists currently taking to the roads ahead of this coming weekend before Christmas to exercise extreme caution, and to heed the warnings of traffic authorities to abide by the rules of the road. We have already seen the disastrous effects that speed, drinking and driving, and fatigue have had on our roads.
The consumption of alcohol, even in relatively small amounts, and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle or walking, increases the risk of being involved in a crash for motorists and pedestrians. Not only does alcohol impair processes critical to safe road use, such as vision and reaction time, it is also associated with poor judgement and so is often linked to other high-risk road use behaviours such as speeding or not using seat-belts. Alcohol and the roads simply do not mix. Do not drink and drive.
Hundreds of operations have already been conducted, including our Random Breath Testing (RBT) operations, which have resulted in the arrest and prosecution of motorists over this festive season. These operations occur anywhere, anytime, and make use of smart technological innovations such as hand-held devices, as well as vehicles fitted with automatic number plate recognition dashcams. Our enforcement authorities will continue to employ a no-nonsense approach to road safety over this Festive season.
I continue to encourage motorists travelling long distances to rest at appropriate intervals. Our enforcement officers are on our roads stopping motorists checking for fatigue as well as all other signs that point to a continued journey being unsafe; unroadworthy vehicles, unlicensed drivers, overloaded vehicles, speeding.
Let us continue to work together and do all we can to end the unnecessary carnage and to make our roads safer over this festive season