Speed contributed to 75 percent of fatal crashes.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation has denied that the drop in road fatalities over the festive season was due to fewer vehicles being on the country’s roads.

It said in a statement that the lower number of deaths on the roads was achieved despite an increase of traffic volumes on some of the country’s busy roads.

A 31 percent drop in the number of deaths during the recent festive season was recorded.

The 2007/2008 festive season also saw a slight drop from 1636 to 1419 in the number of fatalities compared to the previous season.

Despite reports that this was due to the economic situation, implying that more people stayed at home for the holidays, the corporation noted a marked increase in traffic.

An example was that the N6 in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape carried 102723 vehicles during the festive season — more than double the number of vehicles counted on the route between December and January of 2007/08, for instance.

Thandi Moya, RTMC spokesperson, said: “It will be appreciated that Queenstown falls under Eastern Cape, which enjoyed a 36.84percent decrease in road carnage.”

Moya warned that speed was a contributing factor to 75 percent of fatal crashes.

There was also a 33 percent reduction in the number of fatal crashes and a 32 percent drop in the number of vehicles involved in accidents.

More than 1003 fatal accidents were reported between December 2008 and January 2009, about 500 less than during the same period a year earlier.

The beginning of next month will see the launch of “Operation Juggernaut” to replace “Operation Safer Festive Season”.