The first half of this festive season (December 2015) has seen an alarming spike in the number of road deaths in the Western Cape, compared to the figures for the same time last year.

In total, 143 people have lost their lives in our roads over this past December, an 18% increase from the 121 deaths recorded in December 2014.

The most concerning increase has been in the number of passenger deaths (up 40% from 35 in 2014, to 49 in 2015), with a large number of vehicle occupants perishing in some horrific head-on collisions resulting from fatigue, lack of seat belt compliance, and reckless and irresponsible driving.

The highest number of deaths on a single day (11 deaths) were recorded on two Sundays during December, the 13th and the 20th respectively.

December 1 to December 31 (2014):

  1. Cyclist:                       2
  2. Driver:                        20
  3. Motor-cyclist:            7
  4. Other:                         2
  5. Passenger:                35
  6. Pedestrian:                55

Total:                          121

December 1 to December 31 (2015):

  1. Cyclist:                       1
  2. Driver:                        28
  3. Motor-cyclist:            10
  4. Other:                         4
  5. Passenger:                49
  6. Pedestrian:                51

Total:                          143

While there has been a slight decrease in the number of pedestrian deaths over this past December, they remain the leading class of fatality with comparatively high numbers.

Our enforcement efforts continue to be targeted at the main killers on our roads: speeding, alcohol and road use, distracted driving and fatigue. These efforts are supported by Safely Home’s multimedia campaign that is live online and on various radio stations. The campaign is on twitter (@WCGSafelyHome) under the hashtag #BoozeFreeRoads, and is specifically focussed on alcohol use, and the deadly mix that is alcohol consumption coupled with road use.

Our Provincial Traffic Officers will continue to stop thousands of vehicles during various operations across the province to inspect their safety, discontinue those that are not fit to be on our roads, arrest motorists who break the law by driving while over the legal alcohol limit or at excessively high speeds, and issue fines for various offences that threaten the safety of others.

With the festive season at its halfway point, and the rest of January to follow, we will continue with our on-going enforcement efforts and campaigns to make our roads safer as we move into the New Year. January will see many holiday makers making their way back home along the Cape’s major roads.

I continue to urge all road users to:

  • Be vigilant when travelling;
  • Maintain safe speeds;
  • Not to drink and drive;
  • Be visible to motorists when walking on the roads;
  • Be buckled up at all times, particularly children;
  • Take regular breaks when travelling long distances.

Only through working together, road users and traffic authorities alike, will we see fewer and fewer lives lost senselessly on our roads.