NATIONAL NEWS - The Automobile Association (AA) said the Easter road safety statistics released by the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula on 8 April would be encouraging if the broader Easter statistics from previous years had been aligned with the announcement.
“Official numbers from previous years don’t reconcile with each other, or the minister’s own numbers, and therefore any meaningful insights cannot be drawn,” said the AA.
“Published numbers from the Road Traffic Management Corporation show that during the 2019 Easter period, 228 people died on South African roads. Should this be the case, then this year’s preliminary number of 235 fatalities over the Easter period would be an increase, not a decrease.
"However, Minister Mbalula yesterday noted that 260 people died over the Easter period in 2019, which would indicate a decrease. These numbers do not reconcile with each other, rendering commentary on them redundant,” explained the AA.
In addition, the AA noted that the figure of 260 deaths over the Easter period in 2019 was not stated in official government documentation, bringing its veracity into question.
“In 2019, the Easter period fell between 18 and 21 April, yet the official statistics were signed off on 29 April, less than eight days later. Final figures would traditionally only be released after 31 days,” said the AA.
The AA also warned that any number provided now for the deaths over Easter 2021 was preliminary and comparing it to any final number from previous years was statistically irrelevant and premature.
The association said the discrepancies in the numbers was further problematic because they should be used to inform future road safety plans and initiatives.
The association said it was encouraged by the immense effort put in by traffic law enforcers countrywide to deal with the Easter traffic but that this was something which should be done every day of the year.
“Road safety cannot be seasonal or event-driven, it has to be a continuous programme. Unless we realise this, and the importance of road safety to our society and economy, we will not solve the carnage on our roads, and we will also never meet the UN road safety targets for 2030,” the AA concluded.