Youth unite to make Western Cape roads safer
Youth agreed to stand united to help end the carnage on the province’s roads at the inaugural Western Cape Youth Road Safety Summit in Cape Town over the weekend. The national Department of Transport hosted the conference, supported by the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, the South African Police Service, as well as other organisations that promote road safety.
The event gave young people an opportunity to express their views on road safety, and to actively contribute to solving road safety problems in South Africa. Young people provided their inputs and ideas during lively discussions in four thematic groups:
- advocacy and awareness,
- uniting, connecting and inspiring,
- capacity development, and
- the role of youth in crime prevention.
Road traffic injuries are one of the leading causes of death of young people all over the world. Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works said major concerns in the Western Cape are young people speeding, driving under the influence, and driving while distracted by their cell phones.
“We must focus drastic behaviour change amongst road users, including youth. We know that this battle on our roads can only be won through effective engagements like this summit, as well as partnerships between government and groups that share the same values and levels of commitment to reducing the carnage on our roads. Winning this battle will be the legacy that we will leave for generations to come,” he said.
Chad Crowley of the Dream Team Youth Group in Parkwood was grateful to have been able to engage on an important issue of social concern that affects youth. “Youth perspectives on road safety can make a substantial difference in improving road safety. We can be road safety ambassadors and advocate for safer roads in our communities,” he said.
A steering committee was elected at the summit to work with government to actively promote road safety amongst the youth. A Western Cape Youth Declaration for Road Safety was also adopted. This document makes it clear what youth, their parents, teachers, government leaders and others can do to improve road safety. The outcomes of the Western Cape summit will contribute to the national youth road safety action plan, to be finalised at the national Road Safety Youth Summit at the end of June 2016.
It is clear that the youth of the Western Cape are strongly committed to act to reduce road deaths and injuries, and that they support the notion of #BEINGSAFEISCOOL.