Despite the apparent reduced fatality rate on roads this festive season, the Department of Transport has released statistics showing the number of motorists speeding has increased dramatically.

Despite the apparent reduced fatality rate on roads this festive season, the Department of Transport has released statistics showing the number of speedsters has increased dramatically.

These findings were based on the 2003 Road Traffic Offence Survey commissioned by the transport department to combat road traffic accidents and to plan road safety programmes.

Compared to the 2002 results, the national average of speeding motorists has increased from 28 per cent to 39 per cent.

The Department's General Manager of Land Transportation Regulation, Wendy Watson, warned that speed remained an immense problem and continued to increase particularly as traffic volumes increased.

"This is especially worrying in the light of the five to six per cent increase in holiday traffic. As more people return from their holidays. We are urging them not to take chances with their lives. Speeding is just not worth it," said Watson.

The results show that 80,2 per cent of light vehicles (motorcars and bakkies) exceed the speed limit of 60km/h on urban streets in Gauteng. In Mpumalanga, the figure is 71,3 per cent followed by 64,2 per cent in Limpopo.

The highest percentage of light vehicles exceeding the limit on the rural road network is in the Free State with 36,4 per cent, followed by Gauteng with 34,7 per cent.

A high percentage of trucks and buses were also found to be speeding on both urban and rural roads.

Watson said: "Speeding is part of general lawlessness and people's perceptions that they will not get caught."

However, the survey has shown that there are some improvements as urban speed offences have significantly dropped in the Northern Cape and the Western Cape, and rural speed offence levels are also down in Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.

But, with the increased focus on speeding, as well as the "name and shame" campaign, many motorists may start the new year with hefty fines.

Original article from Car