Arrive Alive cancellation responsible for spike in road deaths - Manny de Freitas

DA MP says road deaths increased by 14% to 1 755 over the festive season year-on-year

Road Deaths: Answers needed on cancellation of Arrive Alive campaign 

12 January 2016

The increase in the number of road accidents and deaths over this last festive season, between 1 December 2015 and 11 January 2016, confirms that the cancellation of the national Arrive Alive campaign was irresponsible and has contributed to the increase in the number of fatal crashes and deaths on our roads over the festive season.

The number of fatal crashes increased by 11% up to 1 387 from the previous year and road deaths increased by 14% to 1 755 over the same period. 

The DA will hold the Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, accountable. Minister Peters will have to answer to Parliament as to why road deaths have increased and why the replacement of the road safety campaighas been non-existent. 

In December the DA noted the cancellation of the only national road safety campaign in place, the Arrive Alivecampaign. This campaign was apparently replaced by an alternative campaign, yet there was absolutely no information, detail or presence for this campaign. 

The continued high fatality and crash rate on our roads during the festive season, and during the year, is a clear and unambiguous indicator that a properly coordinated and holistic road safety programme needs to be introduced. Internationally, such programmes have proven to reduce road deaths. 

Our country has the highest rate of alcohol-related road deaths in the world and is one of the worst in road law-enforcement. It was therefore absolutely irresponsible to not have a properly structured road safety campaign. 

Unfortunately it is the people of South Africa who have to deal with the consequences of cancelling this campaign in the form of more deaths on our roads and more families decimated by the impact of these deaths. 

The Minister continues to demonstrate a lack of leadership as she is generally invisible except for when it comes to media-friendly symbolic activities. We are still not seeing the necessary efforts in place to discourage drivers from breaking traffic laws or instituting increased punitive measures for offenders specifically for the festive season. 

This is one aspect of the Minister's job where she can be assessed and judged on her effectiveness. These most recent statistics clearly demonstrate that she is failing dismally when it comes to road safety. 

Not only is this lack of leadership and visible national road safety campaign costing South African’s their lives but it is also costing the South African economy millions.

The DA extends our heartfelt condolences to the families who lost loved ones during the 2015 festive season on South Africa’s roads and highways.

The DA believes that South Africans deserve safe and dependable roads. To ensure this happens, we will continue to constructively interact with the Department and the Minister with the objective to reduce the carnage that happens year after year.

Statement issued by Manny de Freitas MP, DA Shadow Minister of Transport, 12 January 2016