ustice Project South Africa is deeply saddened and somewhat alarmed by the announcement today that 1143 people have been killed on our roads between 1 and 28 December 2014. This represents an increase of 466 fatalities in the 5 days between 23 and 28 December 2014 – or an average of 93 fatalities per day over the last report on 24 December 2014. What is truly alarming is that this average is almost twice the average of 54 per day during the 8 day period last year (22 to 30 December 2013).
The 2013 festive season measuring period was 1 December 2013 to 7 January 2014. In that 38 day period, 1376 people died immediately in road crashes. This represents an average of 31 road fatalities per day when calculated over the entire period. In 2012, the measuring period was 1 December 2012 to 10 January 2013.
We are not sure when the 2014/15 measuring period will end but sincerely hope that it is not shortened again this year since this practice skews statistics by utilising unequal measuring periods. Gauteng schools resume on 14 January in 2015 whereas they resumed on 15 January in 2014.
This year’s festive season road fatalities are not looking good. According to the RTMC, by 30 December 2013, 1184 people had been killed on our roads and if one adds a mere 62 to the current 1143 reported up to 28 December 2014, we would be at around 1205 by 30 December 2014. Contrary to what has been said, this does not represent a decrease in road fatalities, nor does it indicate that the same old “festive season interventions” that have been tried over and over again are having the desired effect.
From our observations, head-on collisions remain a leading cause of road fatalities and yet, few, if any interventions have been implemented to combat unsafe overtaking. We urge all motorists to drive defensively and to avoid “playing chicken” with motorists who are not obeying road traffic laws. Letting your attention down for just one second can be fatal and therefore, driving without taking a break every 2 hours or 200km is a very foolish thing to do.
The festive season is far from over and if things continue as they are, the 2014 festive season road death statistics looks set to surpass those of 2013.