Western Cape sees increase in road fatalities during the festive season

One hundred and sixty-four people were killed on Western Cape roads during the festive period. This is an increase of 33 fatalities compared to the same period as last year.

The Western Cape's Mobility Department said these overall numbers for the province are made up of figures recorded on provincial roads and municipal roads.

Between 1 December 2023 and 11 January 2024, 108 fatalities were recorded on roads in the Cape metro, up from 68 fatalities last year. Meanwhile, fifty-six fatalities were recorded on provincial roads. This is seven less compared to the 2022-2023 festive season

MEC Ricardo Mackenzie welcomed the 11% decrease in fatalities on provincial roads, but says one death on our roads is one too many.

‘’The reality is that our behaviour on the roads in South Africa is still deeply problematic and it has a devastating impact on our society. Despite our significant road safety efforts, we have a long way to go to turn the tide on poor road user behaviour. But I also want to recognise and thank the many road users who showed care and compassion for their fellow road user. Simultaneously, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who played a role in our Festive Season Road Safety campaign.’’

PHOTO: X - @ricardomackenzi

Furthermore, 12 motorists were arrested for alleged bribery; 4 512 fines were issued for tyre defects – which Mackenzie says tyre bursts were the alleged cause of several crashes; 105 arrests for fraudulent documentation; 13 781 seatbelt offences; 13 860 unlicensed vehicle offences (an increase from 8 579 last year); 4 arrests of pedestrians.

Provincial Traffic Officers stopped and checked 271 698 vehicles, issued almost 90,000 fines for various traffic violations, made 576 arrests for drunk driving and 64 arrests for reckless and negligent driving, and removed approximately 1 000 unroadworthy vehicles from the roads.

PHOTO: Getty Images

MEC Mackenzie says for the first time in years, festive season road crashes occurred at all hours of the day, instead of predominantly at night.

‘’This concerning trend re-iterates the need for an effective 24/7 law enforcement service, which our Provincial Traffic Services currently deliver. Their visible deployment on all major routes in the province creates a continuous and omnipresent safety force for our residents and visitors,’’ said Ricardo Mackenzie, Western Cape Mobility MEC.

Mackenzie says he is extremely concerned about the continuing vulnerability of pedestrians, who accounted for over 50% of all fatalities. Furthermore, 22 of these pedestrian deaths were ‘hit-and-runs.’

‘’It is the responsibility of the driver to report such an incident, even if they are unable to stop due to safety concerns. We were equally worried that many motorists seemed to be particularly careless this festive season, which also saw an increase in the arrests for reckless and negligent driving.’’

‘’As I share this feedback from the festive season, our Traffic Management team is already preparing for an increase in travel over the Easter and school holiday period, using these data and learnings to inform the tactical plans. As we prepare to keep everyone safe while they travel, I sincerely hope that road users will likewise be preparing to travel safely. The actions required to prevent further senseless road deaths are simple – whether it’s checking vehicle roadworthiness or buckling up. We all have to take responsibility for turning the tide on this epidemic,’’ added Ricardo Mackenzie, Western Cape Mobility MEC.


Done By: Mitchum George


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