Festive season road fatalities: passengers worst affected


Statistics on the number of crashes and road fatalities in South African for the 2018/2019 festive season were released today. There was a 5.6% increase in the death toll compared to the same period last year. At the press briefing, the Transport Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, provided a number of reasons for the high death toll including drinking and driving, recklessness and negligence such as unsafe overtaking, distraction, fatigue, unroadworthy vehicles and stray animals.


The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says it is noteworthy that the highest number of road fatalities occurred amongst passengers. “While there are various reasons for this, now is a good time to also consider the role of passengers in ensuring they make it to their destination safely. The misconception that only front passengers need to wear a seatbelt persists. Every passenger needs to make a point to wear their safety belt and drivers should also ensure everyone is wearing a seatbelt before even starting the car.


“Passengers also need to play their role in assisting the driver. This is as a second set of eyes, reducing distractions for the driver or ensuring regular breaks. If passengers are not confident in their driver’s driving, rather express concern than lose your life. Road safety is the responsibility of every road user and must be a high priority for all.”


Additionally, Nzimande was also concerned about the number of crashes involving buses and taxis. “Bus and other public transport drivers are responsible for hundreds of lives. Yet, they face many more challenges than the average motorist. For this reason, MasterDrive is focusing their attention on this sector with their new MasterBus programme in the coming year.”


Once again reckless driving is playing a major role in the high number of road fatalities. “We repeatedly stress the importance of each driver accepting responsibility for their own role in the state of our roads. Until each organisation and person commits to obeying the laws of the road, driving courteously and puts genuine effort into becoming a safe driver, we are unlikely to ever see any real and consistent change to these statistics.


“It is a pity that we have regressed from the improvements seen last year. It is even more tragic that there will be a negative affect so many lives following this festive season. Our thoughts and condolences go out to every person who lost a loved one,” says Herbert.


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