The preliminary road death figures for the 2016 Easter period have been released revealing a 46% decrease from those recorded in 2015. According to the Department of Transport (DoT), 156 people died on the country’s roads between Thursday 24 March and Monday 28 March. During the 2015 Easter period (2 to 6 April 2015), a reported 287 people lost their lives on the roads.
“With the exception of the Northern Cape, which recorded the same number of fatalities as last year, all other provinces recorded a decrease in the number of fatalities. Notably, the North West recorded the highest decrease of 71% with number of fatalities reduced from 28 to 8. They were followed by the Free State with a decrease of 52%, fatalities reduced from 23 to 11. KwaZulu Natal experienced a drop of 49% with fatalities reduced from 55 to 28,” revealed the DoT.
However, despite the decrease the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) is still concerned. “While these figures are encouraging, they remain shockingly high. We are concerned that they don’t present the full picture of what is happening on our country’s roads. In December we saw an alarming increase of 14% in road deaths over the December festive period compared to the previous year, and now, although from a smaller base, we see a drop of 46% in Easter road deaths.”
The DoT noted with concern the number “unwarranted behaviours”, including drunk driving and speeding. Traffic officials arrested 913 people for drunk driving and 502 for speeding.