Easter road death toll reaches 181

The number of people killed on South African roads over the Easter weekend has risen to 181, the Department of Transport said on Monday night. Of the 181 people who lost their lives in 143 crashes, 41 were drivers, 71 were passengers and 69 were pedestrians, spokesperson Ntau Letebele said.

“The department’s Arrive Alive Campaign and the road traffic management corporation are concerned about high incidents involving vehicles crashing head-on.”

He attributed most head-on collisions to unsafe overtaking, particularly on barrier lines or solid white lines.

“It is illegal to regain lost time by speeding. Adjust your speed to prevailing conditions.
When vehicles collide head-on at impact, speed doubles and chances of survival are very slim,” Letebele said.

He also said alcohol and fatigue were to blame for the deaths.

“Our statistics attest to drunk drivers forgetting to dim their headlights for oncoming traffic, changing speed or lanes frequently without reason, ignoring stop signs and driving on the shoulder lane or towards the centre lane,” he said.

Although the death toll has risen from 139 on Monday afternoon to 181 at night, the statistics were still low compared to the 232 deaths in 2006.

But Letebele said it was too early to be “optimistic”.

“We don’t want to be too optimistic, but so far less people have died on our roads.”

On Monday alone, 11 people were killed, while 39 others were injured in various accidents across the country.

The most serious was the one that left five people killed and 14 others, including a three-year-old child, seriously injured.

The accident happened on a stretch of road between Steynsrus and Senekal in the northern Free State.

In KwaZulu-Natal, six people were killed and 20 others seriously injured in separate taxi accidents.

The first four were killed on the R612 road between Braemar and Sawoti in the southern part of the province on Monday afternoon. Eight other people were seriously injured in the same accident.

Later in the day, two people were killed, two critically injured and 10 others seriously injured when their taxi veered out of control and rolled down an embankment near Port Edward.

In the Eastern Cape, a woman was killed and six people injured, four seriously, in a three-car collision in Idutywa.

Only one person was killed in Gauteng when a bakkie overturned in Brakpan on Johannesburg’s East Rand.

Eleven other people sustained injuries in the same accident.

A spokesperson for the Limpopo Arrive Alive campaign, Obed Langa, reported no accidents for Monday, but said a total of 33 people were killed in the province since the beginning of the Easter weekend.

“Nine were drivers, 17 passengers and seven were pedestrians.”

By 9pm on Sunday, traffic had subsided on the N1 highway through Limpopo.

“There is a normal traffic flow at the moment but it was very busy between 4pm and 6pm,” he said.

Further statistics were expected to be released on Tuesday. - Sapa

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