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Traffic Fatalities up in First Half of 2015

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Having attended 3 separate events on road safety in the last 3 weeks the one thing that has become apparent is the lack of real world statistics and data for South Africa with regard to fatalities on our roads and, more importantly the contributing factors. While some may think it not possible, there is, in other parts of the world both the will and the capacity to make it happen. The question is – what prevents us?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made available the following data with the observation that more was needed in order to remedy the situation.

Newly released 2014 crash data show:

  • Drunk driving crashes continue to represent roughly one-third of fatalities, resulting in 9,967 deaths last year.
  • Nearly half (49%) of passenger vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts.
  • The number of motorcyclists killed was far higher in states without strong helmet laws, resulting in 1,565 lives lost last year.
  • Cyclist deaths declined by 2.3 percent, but pedestrian deaths rose by 3.1 percent from 2013. In 2014, there were 726 cyclists and 4,884 pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes.
  • Distracted driving accounted for 10 percent of all crash fatalities, killing 3,179 people in 2014.
  • Drowsy driving accounted for 2.6 percent of all crash fatalities; at least 846 people died in these crashes in 2014.

The 2015 fatality estimate is up 8.1 percent from the same period in 2014, NHTSA said, and the fatality rate rose by 4.4 percent.

Of course not having accurate data / statistics should not be a reason for not actively promoting safe driving behaviour – particularly during the “silly season” – but in fact give drivers the added incentive to not be one of the ( almost inevitable) victims of bad driving!

Till next time – Remember, Driving is a privilege and responsibility, not a right!

Eugene Herbert
Group Managing Director

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