Road safety: a shared responsibility for all of us

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Media Release from Global Road Safety Partnership South Africa (GRSP ZA)

While the recently released road traffic crash statistics for the 2014-2015 festive season show a marginal decline from the corresponding figures of the 2013-2014 season, they still make for grim reading. According to the figures released by Minister Dipuo Peters on 9 January 2015, during the festive period spanning 1 December 2014 to 5 January 2015; a total of 1,118 fatal crashes with 1,368 fatalities were registered. The comparable figures for
the same period in 2013-2014 were 1,147 and 1,376. This indicates a marginal decline of 2.5% and 0.6% for fatal crashes and fatalities respectively. Clearly the message is not getting across to our road users and judging by some early responses from the media, these figures seem to have resulted in some questioning the whole point of releasing similar figures year after year and whether the authorities are doing enough in order to curb the scourge of road traffic crashes. This is quite understandable and reveals a deep sense of frustration with the lack of progress in attempts to improve our appalling road safety record.

This line of reasoning is however counterproductive. As highlighted by Patrick Muchaka (GRSP ZA Programme Manager), ‘a more pertinent question would be to ask what each one of us can do in order to improve the situation so that we can see a sustainable reduction in road traffic crash-related trauma’. We cannot, and should not expect the government to address the problem alone. Clearly, there is a need for all of us; business, the media, NGOs, Cross Border Agencies etc. to partner with the government in addressing the problem.

In this regard, GRSP ZA would like to reiterate its strongly held belief that a multi-sectoral approach is the best way to address the problem of road traffic crashes and echoes one of Minister Peters’ statements that.. ‘It is an incontrovertible fact that road safety is a collective effort and responsibility…’. As GRSP ZA, we therefore stand ready to work with all partners to help the country achieve the goals set out under the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. It is therefore our sincere hope that we can strengthen existing partnerships and form new ones in 2015 and beyond so that we make South Africa’s roads safer for all, not only during the festive season but throughout the year. In this regard, we are also in full support of the 365 Days Road Safety Programme by the National Department of Transport.

Together we can save millions of lives.
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