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December: A dangerous time for drivers

Find out about the one action that could save thousands of lives on the road this year.

While many South Africans look forward to heading to their holiday destinations in December, a large number don’t make it there. Last year alone, 1 451 people died in road accidents between 1 December 2022 and 1 January 2023 – and while this figure represents a 13.9% decrease on the same period during the previous year, it is still alarmingly high.

According to Ferose Oaten, Chairperson of the Vehicle Testing Association (a constituent association of RMI), human behaviour accounted for 85% of all accidents during this time, and only 5% were attributable to vehicle factors. However, in cases where more than five people died, this figure rose to 13%. The cost of crashes was estimated at R188.3 billion during 2021 – equal to 3.98% of the GDP for that year. 

Oaten puts this in perspective: Increasing the focus on vehicle safety has the potential to reduce the loss of life by between 5% and 13%, equivalent to 130 lives over the festive season and 1 125 lives throughout the year (based on 2021 stats).

With this in mind, the RMI, is calling on the Minister of Transport to set a date for the implementation of periodic testing of vehicles, an issue which has remained in planning stages for several years. This model has proved successful in reducing road deaths the world over, while also introducing a culture of road safety by increasing driver conscientiousness.