A thousand more South Africans would have died over the last three years were it not for the Provincial Transport Department's Safely Home campaign, said MEC Robin Carlisle yesterday today.
At a celebration function in Cape Town today Carlisle came by this figure after calculating that the province had managed to reduce road fatalities by 29 percent since 2009.
The number of roadside fatalities has decreased steadily from 1567 people in 2009, 1487 in 2010, 1321 in 2011, and 611 up until June 2012.
These were compared against the figures for 2008, before he was elected as MEC, a year in which 1739 people lost their lives on the province's roads.
"The rate at which lives have been lost on our roads has been steadily declining since the beginning of 2009," said Carlisle.
"We are very happy to mark this road safety milestone of 1000 lives saved, and continue to reaffirm our commitment to reaching our goal of reducing roadside fatalities by 50% by 2014. "We will endeavour to strengthen our traffic law enforcement agencies in a bid to send a clear message to those that abuse our roads. They (perpetrators) will not get away with it, and there will be consequences," said Carlisle.
He said as a result of the decrease in deaths on the roads an estimated R5 billion has been saved by his department.
The decrease in numbers, according to Carlisle, was made possible through the tireless effort and committment of ordinary citizens who took responsibility for their own lives, and the lives of others on the road.
"We are beginning to cultivate a culture that respects the rules of the road and understands that roadside fatalities are avoidable through responsible road use," said Carlisle.
Safely Home manager Yasir Ahmed said the 1000 lives saved were calculated based what would have happened on the road until yesterday.
"When we say to a friend you've had enough to drink and let me drive you home, a life has been saved," said Ahmed.
He said the 611 people that have already died on the roads this year still needed to decrease.
City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, said the City was assisting the provincial department reach the lowest road death numbers.
But he said the Justice and Constitutional Department needed to pull their socks up as "it is not right for the traffic official alongside the road to issues fines but the justice system was unable to convict".
Smith said different prevention measures were in place to reduce the number of death on the roads. These included impounding drivers talking on their cellphones and regular roadworthiness checks.
According to the Carlisle, since January until June there has been 880 992 vehicle checks, and of those, 147 835 speed offenses and high speed arrests have been made; 620 drivers were found to be driving while intoxicated; 812 vehicles were found to be unroadworthy; and in the period 631 000 vehicles were screened for overloading.
Weekend Alcohol blitzes that have been conducted since April 2010 and, in addition to the normal planned road blocks, have seen between 4500 to 5000 drivers screened per month with 2840 drivers arrested at road blocks up until April 2012.