File photo: Netcare 911 via Arrive Alive

Human error remains the number one cause of road fatalities in South Africa, contributing 89.5 percent to crashes on the country's roads over the Easter weekend, Transport Minister Blade Nzimande said on Tuesday.

Nzimande, during a media briefing in which he presented the preliminary report into Easter weekend deaths, which the department measured between March 29 and April 9 this year, revealed that 591 people died on the country's roads over Easter - up 14 percent from the 449 road deaths over the same period in 2017.

The report, said the minister, also showed women were much better drivers than men.

"The preliminary report shows that the main contributory factors to road fatalities are related human behaviour, with male drivers accounting for 71.1% of fatalities and females for 24.1%," he said

"In 2018, human factor contributed 89.5% to the crashes as compared to the 74.3% in 2017."

Pedestrian fatalities increased from 33.8 percent to 37.3 percent while the number of drivers killed also climbed from 20.5 percent in 2017 to 25.6 percent in 2018.

"Passengers were the only user group that experienced a significant decline from 43 percent in 2017 to 35.5 percent this year."

The number of children under four and those aged between 50 and 54 also recorded a "sharp increase".

"Children between 0 and four years of age recorded an increase of 4.9% from 2.6% in 2017 to 7.5% in 2018. Middle aged individuals between the ages of 50 and 54 also recorded a sharp increase from 1.3% in 2017 to 8.4% in 2018."

The biggest increases in road deaths came from the Northern Cape, North West and Limpopo, while Mpumalanga and the Free State saw less fatalities.

The number of deaths per province were: 

  • KwaZulu Natal with 111;
  • Gauteng  with 89; 
  • Limpopo  with 80;
  • Eastern Cape with 59;
  • Mpumalanga with 49, 
  • Western Cape with 34;
  • North West with 34; 
  • Free State with 27; and 
  • Northern Cape with 27.

Nzimande said he was disappointed that a target of reaching a 10 percent reduction in road fatalities was not met, adding: "we will not lose hope".

African News Agency (ANA)