Drive down road deaths this fes­tive sea­son

CityPress - - Voices -

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.

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