Make road safety a pri­or­ity

Public Sector Manager - - Message From The Acting Director-General -

The fes­tive sea­son should be about re­lax­ation, joy and cel­e­bra­tion. Sadly, for many South Africans this time of year can turn into one of mourn­ing the lives of loved ones trag­i­cally taken away in road ac­ci­dents.

Dur­ing the last fes­tive sea­son, we suf­fered a to­tal of 1 527 deaths on our roads. Although this is an 11 per­cent drop from the pre­vi­ous year, th­ese num­bers are still un­ac­cept­ably high.

Road-user be­hav­iour is seen as the great­est con­tribut­ing fac­tor to road crashes glob­ally. Driv­ing re­spon­si­bly, wear­ing seat­belts, obey­ing the rules of the road and avoid­ing drink­ing and driv­ing are all within the power of road users. We urge driv­ers to be re­spect­ful of their fel­low road users and to ex­er­cise pa­tience when trav­el­ling to and from their var­i­ous hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions. Th­ese are the key fac­tors in se­cur­ing the safety of your­self and oth­ers, and in prevent­ing the tragic ac­ci­dents hap­pen­ing on our roads.

Over the years, gov­ern­ment has in­vested sig­nif­i­cantly in road in­fra­struc­ture, and all of our ma­jor high­ways are of a world-class stan­dard. De­spite this, and the fact that sev­eral road safety strate­gies have been com­piled over the past 20 years, we have not yet seen sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in road safety. This prompted the De­part­ment of Trans­port to de­velop the Na­tional Road Safety Strat­egy 2016–2030 (NRSS). A prod­uct of both na­tional and in­ter­na­tional poli­cies on road safety, the strat­egy out­lines a num­ber of in­ter­ven­tions that can be im­ple­mented in or­der to ad­dress the high num­ber of road ac­ci­dents.

The NRSS pro­motes re­spon­si­ble and safe road-user be­hav­iour, the pro­vi­sion of safe road in­fra­struc­ture, en­sur­ing safer ve­hi­cles and de­liv­er­ing qual­ity road safety man­age­ment.

The strat­egy has been split into a num­ber of short-, medium- and long-term pe­ri­ods. Road users will al­ready be­gin see­ing the short­term in­ter­ven­tions, which in­clude bet­ter re­sourc­ing, mon­i­tor­ing and in­sti­tu­tional strength­en­ing, be­ing im­ple­mented.The 365 Days of

Road Safety Pro­gramme has seen traf­fic of­fi­cers in­creas­ing their pres­ence on our roads, with more road­blocks and vis­i­ble traf­fic mon­i­tor­ing tak­ing place. Tougher mea­sures are also be­ing taken against ir­re­spon­si­ble road users who break the law. Mean­while, con­certed ef­forts are be­ing made to root out cor­rup­tion among traf­fic of­fi­cials.

In the medium-term, the strat­egy aims to bet­ter ve­hi­cle safety stan­dards, im­prove road de­signs and in­crease the lev­els of road safety re­search. In the long-term, we hope to see an en­vi­ron­ment of in­no­va­tive road safety tech­nol­ogy and proac­tive man­age­ment of the roads from the en­tire spec­trum of stake­hold­ers.

How­ever, it needs to be re­asserted that road safety starts with road users. Get to your des­ti­na­tions safely, so that the fes­tive sea­son can be the time of en­joy­ment it is meant to be.

Phumla Wil­liams, GCIS Act­ing Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral.

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