More than 1,400 people died on SA roads during the festive season
Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga.

A total of 1,427 people lost their lives on the country’s roads during the 2023 festive season, a 2.3% decrease compared to the previous period.

Transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga revealed this at the release of the 2023–24 festive season road traffic statistics at the N1 Grasmere Toll Gate on Wednesday, January 24.

Most people who have died were pedestrians and people aged between 25 and 44 years. Gauteng recorded more deaths on the road, while the Free-state province recorded a decline.

The minister accredited the decline in fatal crashes to the intensified law enforcement operations conducted and the high police visibility throughout the country.

More than 1.4 million vehicles were stopped and checked during these operations, with 7 820 drivers arrested for, among other things, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, producing false documentation, and excessive speeding.

The Minister further indicated that the festive period was marked by heavy rain and storms, which created challenges on the road.

“Unfortunately, some drivers did not modify their speed in slippery and wet conditions. That resulted in avoidable crashes. Most of the crashes occurred in the first week, from 1 December to 5 December, again from 15 December to 21 December, and from 22 December to 28 December. The first week incorporated the payday weekend, when people had received bonuses and were having end-of-year parties.”

“The third week incorporated the long weekend, industry closure, and the people had started traveling, while the fourth week incorporated the Christmas long weekend and saw a massive increase in traffic volumes and festivities.

“Most crashes took place in the evening between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., with the peak between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.Most fatalities were also recorded on Sundays, which is a new trend,” Chikunga said.

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