The toll of 1143 road deaths during the festive season so far is alarming and saddening, the Justice Project SA said on Tuesday.
“What is truly alarming is that this average is almost twice the average of 54 per day during the eight-day period last year (22 to 30 December 2013),” the organisation said in a statement.
“Justice Project South Africa is deeply saddened and somewhat alarmed by the announcement today that 1143 people have been killed on our roads.”
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announced that the 1143 people died in 924 crashes during the festive season up to December 28.
KwaZulu-Natal had the most fatal accidents, with 249 deaths from 211 crashes, Peters told reporters in Durban.
In Gauteng there were 174 deaths from 156 fatal crashes. The Eastern Cape had 161 deaths from 129 fatal crashes.
Limpopo had 138 deaths from 106 fatal crashes, Mpumalanga 110 deaths from 90, the Free State 95 deaths from 63, and the Western Cape 91 deaths from 78 fatal crashes.
Peters said that while there was a decrease of 50 fatal crashes and 25 deaths compared to the same period in 2013, the surge in accidents and deaths since December 23 was worrying.
The JPSA disagreed with Peters.
“Contrary to what has been said, this does not represent a decrease in road fatalities, nor does it indicate that the same old festive season interventions that have been tried over and over again are having the desired effect,” the organisation said.
It said head-on collisions remain a leading cause of deaths on the road.
“The festive season is far from over and if things continue as they are, the 2014 festive season road death statistics looks set to surpass those of 2013.” SAPA