The Department of Transport has invited all transport stakeholders to contribute to the formulation of a road safety strategy for 2016 to 2020. Transport Minister Dipuo Peters told attendees at a National Road Safety Strategy Engagement Summit at the weekend that the strategy would serve as a blueprint for all road safety interventions that needed to be implemented to create safer roads.
“It is an undeniable fact that South Africa has a serious challenge with regard to road safety,” she stated, adding that the country’s road death rate of 23.5 per 100 000 people in 2014 was far higher than the global average of 17.4 fatalities per 100 000 people. “The scourge of fatalities and injuries rob our people, among others, of their rights to life, to pursue their freedom of trade occupation and profession as enshrined in our Constitution,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Peters highlighted that some progress had been made, as South Africa experienced reduced road traffic fatalities, with the figures dropping from 15 419 in 2006 to 12 702 as of 2014. However, she pointed out that the decrease was not at the rate required for South Africa to realistically meet the international aspirational goals set out by the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 to achieve a 50% reduction by 2020.
Peters noted that the upcoming Easter holiday and long weekends, when many people would be travelling on the country’s main roads, provided the opportunity to start reducing accidents and fatalities, as well as reduce road accident costs.
Cape Town – South African Deputy Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa has thanked South African citizens for “making tourism the successful sector that it is”.
“As 2015 draws to a close,” she says, “we as the Tourism family would like to extend our warmest wishes to the nation, the continent and our international visitors and to say thank you.”
Xasa encouraged South Africans to relax after a hard year’s work, but urged travellers to exercise caution and be safe during the festive period.
“Drive carefully and be safe on the roads. Look after our children this festive season. Practice responsible tourism and treasure our resources like water, guard against accidentally causing fires that can ravage our flora and fauna. Be mindful of your carbon footprint – so that we preserve our attractions for future generations,” Xasa pleads.
In the beginning of December this year, News24 published a report stating that 13 273 people died on South African roads in the 2015, with 58% of those in alcohol-related deaths.
This statistic placed South Africa among the leading countries with the worst alcohol-related fatalities in the world, according to the 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety, compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Since the start of the holiday season, at least 720 people more have been killed on the country’s roads, EWN reports.
This year, with the full moon and Spring Tide falling exactly on Christmas Day, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) too has urged the public to be extra careful.
The full moon Spring Tide will peak on Christmas Day and the high tide will gradually get higher each day and low tide will gradually get lower each day, building up to a peak on Christmas Day. These higher than normal high tides and the lower than normal low tides will last for at least the next ten days, the NSRI warned.
EACH year when we attend the Cape Getaway Show many prospective tourists ask about road safety, particularly involving the N2 thoroughfare between East London and Kokstad in the Eastern Cape.
This link is recognised as one of the most dangerous in South Africa and this reputation can act as a deterrent for visitors seeking to have holidays away from the Western and Cape.
Thankfully we can offer inquirers the hassle-free option to take the Karoo and scenic R56 option via the Eastern Cape Highlands to Kokstad and then on to the coast. Not many people know this, but it is in fact the shortest route from Cape Town to the South Coast.
I have driven the R56 many times and can say that the roads are excellent, not congested with cars, public transport, heavy duty trucks, people and livestock and certainly one of the most beautiful and safe routes one can take.
What is clear is that a route to, and roads within a destination that have a poor safety reputation, can get the consumers asking questions and heading off to less daunting places to have their holidays.
In local media reports, it appears there have been an unacceptable number of unfortunate and serious accidents which may be ascribed to speed, non-roadworthy vehicles, alcohol, carelessness or a combination of it all. This is a worry.
We are committed to all and sundry having a “Sunny and Safe” experience down here. Besides the need for drivers to continually act in a law-abiding manner, a zero- tolerance approach by the authorities will also induce the motoring public to be more responsible on our roads.
I have been told by visitors that it is very encouraging when there is strong evidence of law enforcement. Their presence provides comfort to the motorist in that attention to road safety is being lent and that transgressions are being curbed.
One of the buzz terms in our industry is referred to as “Responsible Tourism” and I would say that attention to road safety by the public and the enforcement entities fits into that holistic approach.
In 1976 I spent five weeks travelling throughout the United Kingdom and in all that time I did not see evidence of a single accident (minor or major). I was amazed and impressed as would our visitors if they went home with a similar view of our district.
We can turn negatives into positives, tragedy into triumph – it just takes a collective effort. Please be safety conscious on our roads.