Between January and October, the province has seen 2,155 road fatalities as compared to 2,077 during the same period last year.The department of community safety’s Yusuf Bhyat attributed this to the failure of the media to emphasise the importance of correcting human behaviour on the roads. Profiling Gauteng road fatalities at a two-day road safety seminar hosted by Gauteng roads and transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo, Bhyat said 90% of fatal crashes in the province were due to human factors. “Almost all fatal accidents have an element of alcohol use. In some cases, drivers wore seatbelts and passengers didn’t.” Gauteng’s three metro municipalities contributed 80% to road deaths. Tshwane had the highest motor vehicle fatalities, while Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni were leading in fatal pedestrian accidents, Bhyat explained. “In Gauteng, seven people die per day on the roads – mostly on weekends. [Some] 48% of all road fatalities in the province are pedestrians. “At the current rate, we will exceed last year’s total … if nothing drastic is done in the next two months.”
Mamabolo said his department was working on promoting Gauteng to be a province of smart mobility.“We will attend to the issue of driver behaviour, which is the biggest contributor to high fatalities on the road… We will look at how to leverage technology to impact challenges and fatalities.” MEC Mambolo also spoke on the impression that taxis are frequently involved in fatal road incidents. “Surprisingly, it [research] indicates causes and contributions to overall fatalities on the road and the taxi industry is not one of the big culprits, but perceptions are very strong on that issue.” According to Arrive Alive, of the 36 lives lost daily on South African roads, three are killed in taxi-related incidents. Mambolo explained the action to be taken. “We will be signing a memorandum of understanding with the taxi industry, GTNA and Santaco so that they can continue to improve on their already existing road safety campaigns.” Taxis provide public transportation for 70 percent of commuters.