S. Africa reports sharp increase in Easter holiday road fatalities

2017-04-21 11:10:52 GMT2017-04-21 19:10:52(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

CAPE TOWN, April 21 (Xinhua) -- A total of 235 people were killed on South African roads during the Easter holiday, a sharp increase of 52 percent from the same period of last year, the Ministry of Transport said Friday.

This was 79 more deaths than last year's Easter when 156 people were killed in road carnages, the ministry said in its latest update on road fatalities during the holiday from April 14 to 17.

However, this year's fatalities were still significantly lower than the 333 fatalities recorded in 2015.

"Our preliminary report shows that many people who died on our roads were victims of hit and run incidents, jaywalking or motorists who were driving at speeds that were too high for circumstances," Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi said.

The fatalities were reported despite a massive nationwide drive-safely campaign aimed at reducing road carnages by 50 percent.

"Human factor still remains a causal factor for most of the crashes during this Easter period. As we all know, this can be avoidable if we all prioritize road safety and use our roads responsibly," Maswanganyi said.

Fatigue, driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding were blamed for most of the accidents.

Statistics show that fatalities increased in all provinces with exception of Free State, where a 27-percent decline in fatalities was reported.

"Although law enforcement did everything to plan for a safer Easter period and authorities deployed their resources on the roads, ultimately the responsibility for safety rests on the shoulders of all of us as road users," Maswanganyi said.

Road carnage is common, particularly during holidays, in South Africa, which is among the countries that have the highest road fatalities.

The country has more than 700,000 crashes a year on average, with three children dying every day in road accidents, according to the Road Traffic Management Corporation.

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