The annual road fatality statistics for 2016 were recently published by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), and commenting on these, the Automobile Association (AA) says they “are cause for great concern.”
According to the figures, 14071 people died on South African roads last year, which is the highest annual road death toll since 2007 when 14920 people died on South African roads. In 2006, 15419 people died on the country’s roads.
When looking at the figures, it’s clear that pedestrians are the most vulnerable of all road users; 5410 of the 14071 deaths were pedestrians, or 38% of the total number.
Human factors are indicated as the biggest contributor to road crashes and fatalities, accounting for 77.5 percent of contributing factors. Vehicle factors (6%), and road and environmental factors (16.5%), make up the balance of contributing factors.
Among the human factors that lead to crashes, and deaths, are jaywalking pedestrians (38.8%), hit and run crashes (18.5%), high speed (14.1%), overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic (6.9%), drunk driving or driving while on drugs (3.6%), and driver fatigue (2.2%).
The statistics show Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have the highest percentage of road deaths in the country, each contributing just under 20% to the national total. In Gauteng 2700 people died on the roads, while 2715 died in KwaZulu-Natal. The Northern Cape (409 deaths), the Free State (992 deaths), and North West (1084 deaths) had the lowest death rates contributing 2.9%, 7%, and 7.7% the national total respectively.
In lights of these statistics, the AA said a wider approach to road safety education is needed in schools, teaching children from a young age to be better road users. In addition, law enforcement initiatives should be supported in the courts with traffic offenders being given the harshest possible penalties.
Source: Automobile Association South Africa