Traffic authorities issue warnings as pay day weekend fatalities on the rise

Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works and Provincial and City Traffic Authorities

Pay day weekends continue to be a major concern for road safety authorities. Pay Day Blues refers to Code Blue, which means a fatality emergency services communications. Since the launch of our first Pay Day Blues campaign last month, we have continued to see very high levels of road death and injury over these weekends.

In September, we announced that the worst weekend death toll of the year was 26, which occurred on the main July pay day weekend, from Friday 1st – 3rd of August.

That depressing record was broken almost immediately. September’s main pay day weekend, from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th saw 31 Pay Day Blues in the Western Cape. 16 of those fatalities were vehicle occupants whose bodies were recovered outside the vehicle, a sure sign of not being buckled up.

This October Transport Month, the figures have been grim, with 83 people killed on the road so far.

Weekend figures this month have been:

  • Weekend 1, Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th :12
  • Weekend 2, Friday 10th – Sunday 12th : 7
  • Weekend 3, Friday 17th: – Sunday 19th : 13 (partial pay day weekend, eg Western Cape Government).
  • Weekend 4, Friday 24th: – Sunday 26th : 17 (partial pay day weekend, due to 25th falling on the Saturday).

This coming weekend will be the Pay Day Weekend for the majority of salaried workers in the province. We are thus issuing the following advice to road users:

  • Do not mix alcohol and road use. Driving or walking on the roads while intoxicated is a quick way to an early grave. Use public transport if you intend drinking alcohol. Remember that we will be on the roads all night all weekend, and you could end up in jail if you choose to get behind the wheel after drinking.
  • If you are travelling in a vehicle, always wear your seatbelt, in the front and back seats – this one second step doubles your chance of surviving a crash. You can also avoid a R1000 fine.
  • Never exceed the speed limit.
  • Exercise extreme caution while driving during the following times:

o   Friday nights, from 6pm until midnight.

o   Saturday mornings, from 6am until 10am.

o   Saturday nights, from 6pm until 4am.

o   Sunday afternoons, from 3pm until 9pm.

Pay day means more money available for people to travel, shop and visit loved ones, but it also means more money available for the purchase of alcohol. Greater mobility and greater access to alcohol are reflected in spikes in the death rate over pay day weekends. While further data analysis is required to isolate all of the factors involved, the public are warned please to exercise extra caution over this time.

Please follow us on Twitter, @WCGovSafelyHome and follow #PayDayBlues.