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Road Safety Efforts Not Yielding Desired Results

Road Safety
The percentage of minors being killed on our roads is an area of grave concern. According to statistics, 10,6% of passenger fatalities and 11,5% and pedestrian fatalities are children under 14 years of age.

1 118 fatal crashes and 1 368 fatalities recorded, the 2014/2015

South Africa still holds the unenviable record of having the second highest road accident fatality rate per 100 000 population in Africa. According to the South African Road Federation (SARF), this past festive season only saw a slight reduction in fatalities on our roads.

With 1 118 fatal crashes and 1 368 fatalities recorded, the 2014/2015 Festive Season Road Accident Statistics indicated a minor reduction of 2,5% for fatal crashes and 0,6% for fatalities.

“The Transport Minister rightly pointed out that this is no cause for celebration,” said Innocent Jumo, President of SARF, responding to the statistics, which were released by the Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters, on 9 January.

“We agree with the Minister that urgent action must be taken to put an end to this unnecessary and avoidable carnage.” Jumo said that SARF is in agreement with the Minister’s view that decisive and uncompromising action must be taken against lawlessness and irresponsible road usage.

Road safety should be given the same attention as other priorities, precedence must also be given to safe road infrastructure

“However, we feel that in line with the Minister’s comments that the scale of resources for road safety  should be given the same attention as other priorities, precedence must also be given to safe road infrastructure.

This includes adequate and on-going road maintenance, and the sufficient upgrading of roadside safety barriers, bridge railings and road signs.”

Jumo emphasised the need to focus resources on the establishment of a funded programme to improve road safety infrastructure in line with the safe-systems approach, as well as the institutionalisation of the Road Safety Auditing process on all road construction projects.

SARF said that the percentage of minors being killed on our roads is an area of grave concern. According to statistics, 10,6% of passenger fatalities and 11,5% and pedestrian fatalities are children under 14 years of age.

In May SARF will join the Global Road Safety Week Campaign (4 to 10 May). The theme for this year’s event is Children and Road Safety.

“We believe that the state is also obliged to take appropriate measures to decrease these numbers by ensuring that parents and children receive adequate education about road safety, including how to cross the road safely, and the wearing of safety belts,” added Jumo.

In May SARF will join the Global Road Safety Week Campaign, an initiative that forms part of the Third UN Global Road Safety Week (4 to 10 May). The theme for this year’s event is Children and Road Safety. “So there’s really no better time to focus our efforts on creating safer road conditions for our children.”

Jumo also highlighted that it’s been four years since South Africa joined the United Nations Decade of Action (20112020), a resolution that seeks to reduce the forecast level of road fatalities around the world by 2020.

“South Africa remains committed to the Decade of Action,” he said. “However, SARF is also concerned that it has already taken us four years just to stabilise the number of road fatalities.”

He added that the Minister of Transport in her statement again alluded to fact that road safety is a collective effort. “In this regard we continue to offer our unwavering support to the Department of Transport and all of its agencies in an effort to drastically reduce road fatalities in South Africa,” Jumo concluded.

 
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Tristan Wiggill
Seasoned writer, journalist, photographer, and editor.
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