Minister Carlisle: Safely Home Campaign has Saved 773 Lives So Far
Media Statement by Robin Carlisle, Minister of Transport and Public Works
Today, at the beginning of October Transport Month and midway through my term of office, we release road fatality statistics from January 2009 to September 2011, showing that the Western Cape Government's Safely Home Campaign has led to more positive behavioural changes amongst drivers in our province.
These behavioural changes have in turn saved the lives of 773 men, women and children.
As we bring down the numbers of deaths on our roads so we bring about a decrease in human suffering and the tremendous cost of these crashes and deaths, freeing up billions of rands for other essential services.
Behind every road death statistic, there is a tragic story of family loss and suffering, and for each person that dies there are many more who are crippled physically and emotionally.
The Statistics - 773 Lives Saved So Far
The figures we are releasing today come from the Western Cape Forensic Pathology Services (FPS).
We use these figures because over time it became clear to us that the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) figures we were getting were inaccurate, which the Acting CEO, Collins Letsoalo, has recently confirmed.
We therefore made the decision to rely on FPS statistics, which are based on actual dead body counts.
For the year 2008, before I began my term of office, there were 1 739 deaths on Western Cape roads.
We launched our Safely Home Campaign in 2009, a year in which the total number of fatalities on our roads dipped to 1 567, representing a drop of 172.
In 2010, this number dropped again, this time to 1 497, representing a drop of 242 on the 2008 figure.
In 2011, this trend has continued, leading to a significant reduction in road fatalities in the months leading up to and including September.
By the end of September this year we had lost 971 lives on our roads, as opposed to 1 330 in the first nine months of 2008.
These statistics show that using the 2008 figure as the baseline, there are 773 people in our province today who would otherwise not be alive if it were not for our Safely Home Campaign.
We are Halfway There
The average reduction in road fatalities, on a moving annual basis, from January 2009 to date, is 23.2%.
We are halfway there.
The rate of reduction has increased significantly for the nine months to the end of September 2011.
Projecting a decrease of 12.2% per annum, which is less than we are currently achieving, we will reach our target of a 50% reduction, or 870 fatalities, by December 2014.
These successes would not have been possible were it not for the strong partnerships with the provincial Departments of Health and Community Safety, the City of Cape Town's Community Safety Directorate, the SAPS and, very importantly, a media that has taken ownership of the crucial role it can play to help us save lives.
The work done by our enforcement services has begun to make it clear to drivers that there can be severe consequences when they break the rules of the road.
Our men and women in blue - Provincial and Municipal Traffic, the SAPS and the Metro police - represent the coalface of the Safely Home Campaign and they deserve special thanks from all of us and the public at large for their dedication and commitment. To them I say - "This is your victory".
I have personally taken part in a number of roadblocks and other traffic operations where I have witnessed first-hand a level of commitment that has inspired both me and the Safely Home Team.
The South African National Taxi Association (Santaco), through their Hlokomela ("We Care") Campaign, whose goal it is to "change the face of the taxi industry", have been supportive and committed partners.
Special recognition must also be given to the Cape Argus and LeadSA, our dedicated partners in the Name and Shame Campaign.
Driving the Safely Home Campaign
Some of the key drivers include:
- The Name and Shame Campaign - where the names of hundreds of convicted drunk drivers have been published over the past year. A total of 47 of those named went directly to jail without the option of a fine, receiving jail sentences ranging from six months to four years.
- Shadow Centres and the Drager breathalyser - we remain committed to breathalyser technology as an efficient and costly way to convict drunk drivers and it will be back in action soon.
- Roadblocks - the foundation of any road safety compliance campaign.
- Speed over Distance - hugely successful on the M5, soon to be implemented on the R61 Aberdeen/Beaufort West Road.
- Impounding of unsafe and unlicensed buses and taxis.
- Our Ghost Squad - targeting of moving offences.
To the five dedicated members of the Safely Home Team - the work you are doing to make our roads safer has translated into saving 773 lives; well done.
Finally, I would like to thank those members of the public that have taken the mature decision to drive soberly and responsibly, at all times obeying the rules of the road.
Let us together ensure that all of us and our loved ones get Safely Home and that we do nothing to prevent anyone else from getting Safely Home.
Download the full Safely Home Campaign presentation.
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