Justice Project: Easter weekend road deaths stats ‘misleading, inaccurate’

The transport minister announced that a 46 percent decline in the number of road deaths this Easter.

FILE: JHB highway image for traffic. Picture:EWN

PRETORIA - While the Transport Department has welcomed the year-on-year decline in the Easter weekend road death toll figures, the Justice Project South Africa believes it's misleading and inaccurate to simply compare 2015's numbers to this year's.

Minister Dipuo Peters released the preliminary statistics at a briefing in Pretoria today which show a 46 percent decline in the number of people killed on the country's roads over the Easter period.

The latest Easter weekend death toll stands at 156 fatalities - that's down from 287 people killed over the long weekend last year.

The Justice Project's Howard Dembovsky says the Easter weekend was preceded by another long weekend and fell within the school holidays, affecting the number of people on the roads.

"The spread of the volume of traffic travelling on our roads has been more widespread this year, as opposed to last year. The less vehicles you have on the road at a particular time, the less chance there is of them crashing into one another."

'NO FIXED LICENSE PLATE A DELIBERATE PLOY TO AVOID DETECTION'

Peters has warned that motorists who drive without license plates fixed to their vehicles will have their cars impounded and be forced to seek alternative transport.

The minister was speaking after the release of this year's Easter weekend road death statistics in Pretoria today.

The latest figures show a year-on-year 46 percent decline in the number of people killed on the country's roads over the long weekend.

The transport minister says she is perturbed by the number of motorists who drive their vehicles without license plates fitted.

"This is a deliberate ploy to avoid detection for traffic violations, and to undermine our law enforcement efforts. Our instruction to law enforcement officers is that the vehicle must be impounded and the owner must be forced to make alternative transport arrangements."

Meanwhile, the African National Congress has welcomed the figures and has commended law enforcement agencies for their hard work.

WESTERN CAPE STATS DROP

In the Western Cape, the past Easter long weekend death toll has dropped by about 75 percent compared to the same period last year.

Six people lost their lives on the province's roads over this weekend, which is notorious for a spike deadly road accidents.

During the same period last year, 23 fatalities were recorded across the Western Cape.

Provincial Traffic Chief Kenny Africa believes motorists have finally heeded their call to practice extra caution on the roads.

"We cannot say anything else but to thank our motorists for their cooperation this Easter weekend. We thank our men and women in blue for being there on the roads, and the fact that motorists adhered to our call to change their attitude and their behaviour out there."