Preliminary figures indicate that the amount of road deaths over the Easter weekend and across the country have decreased since last year. Road fatalities have declined from a reported 23 fatalities in 2012 to 15 fatalities over this past weekend. This positive outcome has been accredited to various initiatives such as: integrated road safety activations, South African Insurance Association’s (SAIA) launch of a Driver Behaviour & Road Safety Awareness Campaign, the Arrive Alive campaign to promote road safety and, of course, the increased commitment from South African motorists.

Transport Minister, Honourable Dikobe Ben Martins and Transport Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, visited several provinces ahead of the holidays to encourage increased safety on the roads. Although the plea for improved driver behaviour and road safety was distributed from Government and Non-Government organizations alike – the 14 hour countrywide roadblock that kicked off the long weekend produced alarming results. Of the 30 000 cars that were stopped and checked, 683 tests for alcohol were administered, of which 17 resulted in arrests for drunken driving. Over 120 cars were impounded for being unroadworthy, 394 people were driving without licenses and 18 arrests were made for speeding.

Pedestrian deaths remain an issue, as highlighted by Chikunga speaking at the Kranskop Toll Plaza in Limpopo. Last year 15 pedestrians lost their lives, which was reduced to one this year, but remains one too many.

Willies Mchunu, KZN Transport MEC, expressed his concern with the state of the passenger vehicles found to be unroadworthy. Mchunu states: “What we must now do is to look at dealing with the owners severely because some of them are registering their cars wrongfully, others are deliberately allowing suspended vehicles to carry passengers on our roads and we must deal with them”.

“Although the decrease in road accidents over this period is deserving of a commendation, we still have a long road ahead to reach a zero target. Driver safety is a focus point of Matrix and through tutorials on our website, we aim to do our part, not only for our customers but for society as a whole. Road safety touches every individual, it then remains the responsibility of each of us.” Brendan Horan – Matrix Vehicle Tracking.

Through the effort and support from all parties the death toll on our roads, over this busy time of year, has been reduced. In acknowledgement of the dedication shown by law enforcement, the Honourable Butana Komphela, Free State MEC, had the following to add “Many lives have been saved just because you sacrificed your time, your families and even going to church because you understand your high calling. The drivers that you arrested and the vehicles that you removed from the road were just a few moments from causing disaster.”