Horror Crashes Highlight Need for Whole Society Approach to Road Safety
Statement by Robin Carlisle, Minister of Transport and Public Works
Road deaths are once again in the spotlight, with horrible crashes claiming many lives across the country.
In the Western Cape, this past weekend saw the loss of 19 lives on our roads, up from the 15 deaths recorded the same time last year. Of the 19 that so tragically lost their lives, three were drivers, seven were pedestrians and nine were passengers. While we enjoyed an unparalleled reduction in road deaths in the Western Cape (30% since the beginning of 2009), our statistics show that passenger deaths, the biggest casualty of these horrific crashes, will soon pass pedestrians as the leading class of fatalities.
This trend speaks directly to the lack of restraints compliance amongst many road users today; a simple act that would have no doubt saved the many lives that are now lost.
When working to address the carnage on our roads, our approach has been squarely focused on these basic principles:
- Safe roads.
- Safe people.
- Safe speeds.
- Safe cars.
- To keep the focus firmly on changing behaviour and attitudes towards safe and responsible road use.
We know that very little can change until people change, and begin to religiously comply with the rules of the road, as opposed to disregarding them with impunity. It’s this blatant disregard of the law and what it requires to make one a safe road user that places many lives in danger and results in the carnage we experience on our roads.
We will continue to make drink driving and speeding the key focus of weekend enforcement blitzes, as such errant behaviour must be curbed in order to save lives. Enforcement authorities will continue to strengthen their efforts in this regard. Motorists should NOT be gambling with their lives, and the lives of other road users, by driving
- At excessive speeds.
- After having had too much to drink.
- Vehicles not fit to be on the road.
Road users must also be extra vigilant during the weekends, the most dangerous time of the week. Almost half of the deaths recorded on our roads are occurring on Saturdays and Sundays. All road users (drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike) must be especially alert on these days.
Through working together with the many citizens of the Western Cape, we remain on track to reaching our goal set through our Safely Home campaign, which is to reduce road crash fatalities by 50% by the end of 2014.
Enforcement initiatives such as Weekend Alcohol Blitzes and regular inspections of public transport vehicles (as well as various other initiatives) are helping to curb irresponsible behaviour and educate the public as to the dangers that exist on our roads. In the Western Cape, we are way ahead of all the other provinces in this regard, but we still all have a long way to go.
Media Liaison Officer
Ministry of Transport and Public Works
Tel: 021 483 8954
Cell: 084 233 3811