Address at the KwaZulu-Natal Summer Holiday Road Safety Launch by Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP, Minister of Transport, Enseleni, KwaZulu-Natal
8 Dec 2009
Last Friday, the Final Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup took place in Cape Town, with the world’s eyes fixed on South Africa. The 2010 World Cup has started a long frenzy that will grip the country till the finals in July 2010.
The success of the Final Draw demonstrates what partnerships and collaboration, across sectors and generations, can do to lift the country from the edge of the world to the centre. The success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa lies in collaboration between cities and provinces, and collaboration between countries in the region and the rest of the continent.
It is for this reason that we are calling for a partnership against road deaths. This partnership must include communities, partnership with community-based organisations, faith-based organisations and all non-governmental organisations to join in this fight for safer roads. We are calling for a partnership with financial institutions and funders in South Africa and around the world.
Please join us in this global movement for life, this world movement to save families from the untimely trauma of road deaths.
We are calling on vehicle manufacturers, retailers and employers to join us in this great stride, we make today, for safer roads in South Africa, in Africa and the world. As a nation, we all believe it can’t be OK that every three minutes a child is killed on the world’s roads.
As partners, we believe, in equal measure, that it can’t be OK for 1.3 million people to die each year on the world’s roads. In this new national, yet global, partnership, we all must never think it is OK for 20 to 50 million people to sustain severe injuries on our roads. This cannot be OK. Roads deaths are not accidents, but are avoidable and deadly incidents.
We cannot continue treating road deaths as normal when we are facing death by design - death by human error, death through carelessness, death through drunkenness - all of which can be stopped. Almost all deaths on the road can be avoided, because almost 90% of accidents are caused by human error.
If we continue today as we did yesterday, if we continue today as if there was no urgency, if we leave things as they are, we will soon face an epidemic. In fact by 2015, it is estimated that road crashes will be the number one killer of children aged 5 to 14 in Africa, outstripping malaria and HIV/AIDS. That is if we choose to do nothing!
In July this year, we attended the Make Africa Safe Conference in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
Also attended by delegates from around the world, the Dar es Salaam conference called for a “Decade of Action for Road Safety in Africa”.
At that conference, we recommitted ourselves to the Millennium Development Goals and the resolutions taken at the 2007 Accra Road Safety Conference. We declared that we wanted to improve road safety and halve the number of crashes and fatalities by the year 2015.
Following the Dar es Salaam conference, in November we were honoured to join nations of the world in Moscow, Russia at the first Global United Nations Ministerial Conference on Road Safety. From Dar es Salaam in July to Moscow in November, road safety has now, for the first time ever, rightly, been elevated to the urgent attention of the world.
In Russia, Ministers approved the Moscow Declaration which calls for a Decade of Action for Road Safety, 2010 – 2020. This historic conference also agreed to hold a follow-up Ministerial Conference in 5 years to review progress. In Moscow, on behalf of South Africa, we called for a global partnership against road deaths and for safety on our roads. After Moscow, road safety has become a matter for countries and not only for individuals.
After Moscow, road safety is now a matter not only for countries, but a matter for continents. After Moscow, road safety has become a matter for the attention not only of continents, but of the entire globe. The whole world now agrees that this is an investment in economic growth, an investment in the future.
Moving beyond statistics
Road deaths deprive children of parents; road deaths deprive parents of their children who die before their time. The economy is deprived of healthy skilled individuals simply because of an accident which could have been prevented. It takes one taxi accident to deprive a country of a student, a soccer player, a teacher, artisans, driver and children who are yet to fulfil their dreams and the hopes of a nation. It takes one human error to wipe out three to four generations of a family! We cannot bear this cost.
We must say this, however, that our fatal crashes and fatalities have steadily decreased over the past few years, thanks to our road safety strategy of the 4E’s principle - engineering, education, enforcement and evaluation.
Road safety through infrastructure
In many instances, poor road infrastructure contributes to an increase in accidents. Our road agency, the South African National Road Agency Limited (SANRAL), has adopted the Road Safety Management System. The system is aimed at safety considerations to direct decisions on design, construction, maintenance, operation and management of our road network.
Education- targeting young people
SANRAL is also engaging communities residing adjacent to national roads on safety precautions. Through education, we are targeting children and youth who are most vulnerable, through scholar patrols and other initiatives. Research shows that children between the ages of 1 and 6 years learn all future behaviour.
Therefore, pre-school and repetitive education during ages 6 to 15 should be part of our national strategy. We are also embarking on training learners to drive by the time they finish high school. Together with the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education, we want to inculcate a new culture in these new drivers before they learn bad driving habits.
Road safety through legislation
A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report on road safety shows that we have sound legislation in place for the wearing of seat-belts, drunken driving, setting speed limits, among others. The fact that more than 90% of all road accidents are preceded by a road traffic violation makes the improvement of road-user perceptions, attitudes and behaviour a matter of urgency. Dealing with non-compliance, and the finalisation of offences and traffic infringements, remains a priority.
In 2010, we will launch the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO). Under AARTO, a driver is given the opportunity to voluntarily surrender his licence by continuously breaking the law.
Every person starts with 0 points and the maximum permissible number of points is 12.
A person is allowed to drive until he/she has 12 points. Every point exceeding 12 points results in a three-month suspension of the licence.
One point is reduced every three months if no further contraventions occur within the three-month period.
So after three months of no offences, a driver can correct their behaviour by not offending and for that we reward them by reducing the points against their licence. A licence is, however, cancelled when it has been suspended for the third time. Demerit points recorded against a driver in the national contraventions register will decrease by one (1) point every three (3) months during which no demerit points were incurred. So we are not only seeking to punish, we also seek to correct bad behaviour. We believe that eventually AARTO will change behaviour.
2009/10 Festive Season Road Safety Plan
The 2009/10 festive season traffic law enforcement plan has been compiled by the Road Traffic Management Coordinating Committee which consists of representatives of law enforcement agencies from national, provincial and local government.
Our road safety plan this year is:
* Based on a detailed analysis of last year’s fatal crash report and is in line with the priorities of the national road safety strategy.
* Supported by the road safety promotion/education/communication components and the various levels of government in order to amplify our road safety programme.
* A partnership with the private sector and civil society because road safety is not only government’s responsibility.
Our enforcement officers will stop and check no less than 1 million vehicles and drivers between 1 December 2009 and 31 January 2010.
Roadblocks, roadside checkpoints, patrols, speed monitoring and road safety awareness campaigns will be part of the zero tolerance campaign.
We are targeting pedestrian jaywalking; drinking and walking; and pedestrians on freeways; speeding; drinking and driving; moving violations such as unsafe overtaking; use of cell phones whilst driving; red light infringements and reckless and negligent driving; driver fitness, vehicle roadworthiness, especially taxis and buses; overloading, both passengers and goods and wearing of seatbelts.
We are targeting vehicles along main arterial routes to different provinces, including KwaZulu-Natal, after industries close as well as holiday shopping. Overloading in especially bakkies, mini-bus taxis and buses will be targeted. All public transport operators and drivers must ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy and that they do not put the lives of innocent commuters at risk.
We urge all drivers to stop and take a break every 2 hours or 200 kilometres or have relief drivers. We have partnered with the private sector to ensure that you are able to test your own alcohol levels before driving through purchasing a disposable alcohol breathalyzer which will be on sale at Engen garages. We hope to have these disposable breathalyzers also available at other outlets in the near future.
2010 World Cup
In June 2010, we will welcome more than 400 000 fans to our country for the Soccer World Cup. There is no bigger event in the world than the Soccer World Cup. There will no bigger event in the world in 2010 than the Soccer World Cup, not perhaps until the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014. We must be excited for a good reason. As the Transport Family, we can give this assurance: we will transport fans from the airports to the hotels, from the hotels to the stadiums and safely back home.
The command structure for our transport plans is geared towards safety and security on our roads. As we join the world in the excitement of the holidays and that of the 2010 World Cup, let us be safe on the road and in return ensure that other road users are safe. Let us use this festive spirit to cement safer roads, to save lives and to kick road deaths out of our lives. Let it start today! Let it start with you!
Issued by: Department of Transport
8 December 2009
Issued by: Department of Transport
8 Dec 2009
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