Drive down road deaths this festive season
Every year during the festive season, traffic authorities preach the same message: stay sober, don’t drive or walk on roads if you’re drunk, ensure vehicles are roadworthy, stick to the speed limit, and so on.
But come mid-January, the festive season road death statistics always seem to come as a shock to South Africans.
Road deaths are not only a problem during the festive season; they are a daily occurrence.
The 2014/15 report of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) recorded 5 500 road deaths in that period.
The country has a road fatality rate of 25 per 100 000 people, compared with the global average of 17.4, according to the 2015 World Health Organisation global status report on road safety.
Studies have shown that alcohol plays a key role in many of the road deaths recorded in the country.
How do we change this yearly trend that leaves families without fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, and even sometimes robs children of their young lives?
The RTMC says it has an answer. After 11 years, authorities have dumped the holiday-oriented Arrive Alive campaign and replaced it with the 365 Days Road Safety Programme.
The RTMC says this programme is different and, unlike Arrive Alive, which is a media campaign around Easter and the festive season, this programme will focus on education, awareness and communication on road safety.
One of its initiatives is to put mobile vehicletesting equipment at roadblocks across the country to ensure that unroadworthy vehicles are removed from our roads. This, and the daily visibility of traffic authorities on the roads, could be the solution.
Let’s hope all South Africans live to see 2016.