1 527 fatalities on our roads over festive season – Manny de Freitas

DA MP says the massive drop in arrests of drunk drivers a cause for concern

Road safety stats show carnage on our roads still great cause for concern- Parliament should investigate

23 January 2018

The DA extends our deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones during the 2017/18 festive season on South Africa’s roads and highways.

While the DA welcomes the overall reduction of fatalities on our roads, the 1 527 people who lost their lives on our roads is still a staggering and worrying figure.

The DA will now request that the Portfolio Committee on Transport put pedestrian safety and the reduction of fatalities on our roads at the top of its agenda. It is paramount that parliament investigate the efficiency and effectiveness of government’s plan to deal with this matter.

However, accidents involving drivers and passengers were sadly not the only cause of death on our roads this past festive season.

Pedestrian deaths increased from 34% to 37%, of the total fatalities recorded, this points to a lack of safety and awareness programmes available to the public which should be a priority for the Department this year.

In the preliminary findings released by the Department of Transport, there was a 33% reduction in traffic violation notices issued over the festive period, with a massive drop of 44% in arrests of drunk drivers.

It is highly unlikely that such a massive decrease of incidents is a result of better driver behaviour, instead it likely points to a reduction in traffic enforcement and drivers being able to avoid roadblocks.

The DA will also be submitting a series of parliamentary questions to the Department of Transport, and monitor whether the department will fully implement its pledges in 2018 and to what degree, following the release of the 2017 festive season road deaths figures.

We will await the final report into the total number of fatalities and their causes, which have occurred on our roads to gauge the true extent the contributing factors that lead to the tragic fatalities each year.

It is time for this government to take road safety seriously as we cannot continue to witness the unnecessary loss of life on our roads.

Issued by Manny de Freitas, DA Shadow Minister of Transport, 23 January 2018