Road death toll expected to increase

Road deaths are expected to increase before the holiday season ends.

Emergency personnel attending to an accident scene. Picture: Netcare 911 via Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - The number of road deaths is expected to rise as the holidays come to an end this weekend.

Around 1,300 people have already died on South Africa's roads from the beginning of December.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC)'s Ashref Ismail confirmed the new figure.

He said the country has developed a culture of bad driving.

"There is a culture of noncompliance that is being emanated. I always maintained through anecdotal evidence when people travel from point A to point B they don't really apply their minds. They sort-of go onto autopilot."

Ismail said that despite their efforts, there have been dozens of cases where drivers were not wearing seatbelts and passing each other on the emergency lanes on national highways.

He said while many motorists blamed taxi drivers for accidents on the roads, all types of vehicles were responsible for the festive season death toll.

Meanwhile, the Road Accident Fund said it shells out R12,5 billion annually on claims to accident victims, their families and legal costs.

The high death toll over the festive season is said to see the number of claims spike.

The Road Accident Fund's CEO Eugene Watson said South Africa's road carnage stats are way too high.

"We cannot have 40 people die in our country everyday from these accidents. We cannot have accidents labelled as the largest cause of death for people aged between five and 30."

He said many more accidents can be prevented if motorists respect the rules of the road.

"Ideally, we want to reduce the accident rate to zero, which is certainly something we can't do by ourselves. But together with all the stakeholders in government as well as civil society, I think we can make a difference."