Each year, road accidents over the Easter weekend highlight South Africa’s alarming road fatality rates.
In 2019, the number of people killed over Easter was reported to be lower than for Easter 2018 – but 162 lives is far, far too many to lose over just an Easter weekend!
Also, this year the figures were given only for the four days of the Easter weekend. In preceding years, the school holidays coincided with Easter and road fatalities were reported for a longer period, with busier roads.
According to Arrive Alive’s 2017 State of Road Safety Report, roughly 14,000 people die on South Africa’s roads each year.
The state of road safety in South Africa
Over this year’s Easter weekend, there were three serious accidents on the N3 near Van Reenen’s pass alone.
Also over the 2019 Easter weekend, 807 drivers were arrested for drunken driving, and 192 drivers were arrested for speeding.
Figures for South Africa’s festive season are even more alarming.
A comparison between road accidents in a period over the festive season in 2017 and 2018 showed a 16 percent increase in fatalities from the previous year. This was in spite of traffic departments setting up 356 roadblocks and issuing over 300 000 fines.
Some other alarming South African road statistics from the 2018 festive season:
- a total of 767 people were killed in traffic collisions
- KwaZulu-Natal was the most dangerous province with 162 fatalities
- the Northern Cape saw the sharpest increase in road accident fatalities at 71%
- 10 666 drivers were fined for being unlicensed
- hit and runs increased by 17%
- speeding increased by 14%
- reckless overtaking increased by 10%
- 9 620 drivers were fined for not wearing their seatbelts
- minibus taxis were involved in 34 fatal accidents and trucks were involved in 44
- human error accounted for 86% of all road accidents.
Why are South African roads so dangerous?
Nearly 135 000 people have died on South Africa’s roads over the past decade, in what can only be described as a national crisis.
The Automobile Association (AA) claims that current road safety initiatives “are simply not working”.
The AA says South Africans’ poor attitude toward safe road use is a key contributor to the high accident rate.
In some areas, poor road conditions are also a factor. If local municipalities don’t keep on top of road maintenance, especially over the busy seasons, potholes, rockslides and similar road defects can contribute to fatal accidents.
What are the possible solutions?
The AA has offered suggestions for improving road safety. These include providing safe and more reliable public transport and reducing the number of cars on the road.
The AA has also spearheaded a campaign to educate pedestrians and to supply them with reflective gear that makes them more visible on the roads.
Meanwhile, the Department of Transport in cooperation with the Road Safety Advisory Council has introduced a National Road Safety Strategy. This includes initiatives such as periodic vehicle testing, regulation of driving schools and improved driver permit training and qualification.
Road accident claims with DSC Attorneys
Anyone seriously injured in an accident on South Africa’s roads – including drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians – can claim compensation from the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
Victims of road accidents can claim for medical expenses, loss of earnings and, in cases involving serious injury, general damages for pain and suffering. If a breadwinner in your family is killed in a road accident, you can claim for loss of support and funeral costs.
At DSC Attorneys, we specialise in road accident claims. Our personal injury attorneys and medico-legal team can assess your claim, help prepare supporting evidence and represent you in legal proceedings, giving you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve. We work on a no win, no fee basis.
If you may have a road accident claim, contact us for the very best legal support and representation.