The sick joke that’s called driving on SA’s highways

Road death statistics ‘are deeply worrying’
Call for concerted effort to reduce road crashes
Sick joke that is driving on South African roads

POTENTIAL FOR MAYHEM: Hundreds of vehicles all moving at high speed in a contained area. One bad, stupid or selfish driver could change order into a bloodbath. Image: Arrive Alive
POTENTIAL FOR MAYHEM: Hundreds of vehicles all moving at high speed in a contained area. One bad, stupid or selfish driver could change order into a bloodbath. Image: Arrive Alive

PRETORIA, South Africa – Figures released by transport minister Dipuo Peters in Pretoria today show that deaths on South African roads over the December holiday period increased by a 14% over those of 2014/15.

Peters said 1755 people died from December 1 2015 to January 11 2016 and immediate reaction from the South African Automobile Association was:
“This figure will undoubtedly increase when the final numbers are calculated; we expect it to rise to close to 2000.”


The AA sees several factors as contributing to this figure though the main causes were simply poor driver attitude and a disregard for traffic laws.

“Many causes such as drunk driving, speeding, driving without seat belts and risky overtaking have been forwarded as reasons for the death toll but all of these,” the AA said. “Essentially, point to poor driver attitudes. If drivers don’t take responsibility for their actions and carry on making decisions they know to be wrong these figures will not improve.”

The AA believes better and stricter law enforcement is needed with a focus on moving violations. There should also be co-ordinated safe-driving campaigns.

“Today’s announcement is a unique opportunity for government to reaffirm its commitment to working with the various groups and non-government organisations who are working hard to improve road safety in our country,” the AA added. “Many such organisations need the support of government but too many initiatives fail to launch without sufficient government support.”


The AA also said it is important that government make available the latest in-depth statistics for annual road deaths in South Africa to enable road safety campaigners to assess which initiatives and interventions are working, which are not.

“Unfortunately the only data currently available is from 2011 and does not provide a clear indication of the trends of road deaths. Road-crash statistics need to be widely available and accurate to ensure that everyone is working towards reducing crashes and fatalities through an understanding of the true nature of the current problem.”


The analysis of fatal crashes from Arrive Alive! for the festive seasons of 2010, 2011 and 2012 and the crash trends of more recent few months have demonstrated that road crashes are caused by the following factors:

  •  excessive speeding
  •  drinking and driving
  •  drinking and walking / pedestrian safety
  •  driver fitness / fatigue
  •  moving violations.                   

Analysis of the contributory factors reveal that human factor is highest followed by vehicle and road factors.

The Accident Report of 2010/11 contains the following breakdown of the contributory factors:

Human factor

  • Speed too high for circumstances (40.4%)
  • Pedestrian jay walking (32.5%)
  • Overtook when unlawful or unsafe to do so (10.6%)
  • Fatigue (3.3%)
  • Hit and run (7.0%)
  • Close following distance (5.3%)

Vehicle factor

  • Tyre burst prior to crash (63.2%)
  • Faulty brakes (21.0%)
  • Faulty steering (15.8%)

Road factors

  • Sharp bend (50.0%)
  • Poor visibility (12.5%)
  • Poor condition of road surface (18.8%)
  • Road surface slippery or wet (12.5%)

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