South Africa reports rises in deadly road accidents, death toll

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South Africa’s monthly road statistics released Monday showed 637 fatal crashes resulting in 774 fatalities in January, according to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula when releasing the country’s first to-date monthly road statistics.

“This represents a 75 percent increase in crashes from 484 and 78 percent increase in fatalities from 602, year-on-year,” said Mbalula at a media briefing in Johannesburg.

The death toll increased in seven provinces except for KwaZulu Natal and the Free State, with Gauteng leading with 138 deaths and Limpopo with 123. The Western Cape had 121 deaths and the Eastern Cape recorded 108 road fatalities.

He said the majority of crashes occurred on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, with human behavior being the most significant contributor to 90 percent of crashes, followed by road and environmental factors.

The minister said the monthly road statistics will assist the department in tracking and reducing road carnage.

“This is another building block in our efforts to arrest the carnage on our roads. Taking the patterns of fatalities on the roads will allow us to customize our interventions in more meaningful ways that provide an opportunity to track our progress,” he said.

According to Mbalula, police set up 1,872 roadblocks in January to monitor the roads. A total of 173,686 traffic fines were issued and 4,846 drivers were arrested for various offenses, such as drunk driving and overloading passengers.

The department will intensify its road campaigns, including roadblocks Thursday and through the weekend to reduce deaths and injuries caused by drunk driving and other factors on the road, he added. Enditem

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