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Published: 11 Apr 2012
|SA: Ndebele: Address by the Minister of Transport, at the launch of the Eqstra think pedestrian campaign, Johannesburg (11/04/2012)|
Source: The Department of Transport
Title: SA: Ndebele: Address by the Minister of Transport, at the launch of the Eqstra think pedestrian campaign, Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory CEO: Mr Achmat Dangar
UN Representative: Dr Francis Kasolo
MD of Eqstra: Mr Murray Price
The Nelson Mandela Family (Zindzi Mandela)
Members of the media
Let me start by officially welcoming Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics’ (Eqstra) as another Friend of the Decade of Action for Road Safety. We appreciate Eqstra heeding our clarion call to join government, in our commitment to make a valuable transformation towards safer roads in South Africa.
Road Safety continues to be a challenge, as pedestrians and motorists continue to die each and every day. In spite of government efforts to curb road traffic fatalities, our country has witnessed road deaths increasing faster than the vehicle population over past years. Pedestrians alone account for nearly 40% of road fatalities annually, which can be prevented.
The Think Pedestrian campaign is aimed at stabilising, then reducing, these statistics through intensive awareness and education programmes for drivers and pedestrians. The partnership between the Department of Transport, Eqstra and the United Nations (UN) will see this pedestrian programme implemented firstly in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, in support of Nelson Mandela Day. This joint initiative is part and parcel of our implementation of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
Easter traffic statistics
Preliminary figures indicate a reduction in road deaths during this past Easter week-end. In this regard, we would like to compliment all road users who adhered to the rules of the road, as well as all our law enforcement officers and emergency services personnel who went beyond the call of duty. Keep up the good work; a lot still needs to be done.
Traffic volumes along major arterial routes were the highest this Easter, peaking in excess of 2 500 vehicles per hour. During Easter 2011, 296 people were killed in 215 road crashes.
During Easter this year (2012), as per preliminary statistics supplied by the SAPS to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), 181 crashes were reported from Thursday, 5 April to Monday, 9 April.
The breakdown of fatal crashes per province is as follows:
Province 2011 2012
KwaZulu-Natal 43 30
Gauteng 37 23
Limpopo 32 32
Mpumalanga 29 25
North West 12 19
Free State 18 15
Eastern Cape 25 20
Western Cape 9 13
Northern Cape 10 4
Major contributory factors included speeds too high for circumstances, dangerous overtaking, fatigue, drinking and driving or walking and tyre failure. From 5 to 9 April 2012, 56 roadblocks were held; 905 motorists were arrested including 562 for drinking and driving, 226 for reckless and negligent driving (including excessive speed) and 117 for other offences; 355 vehicles were discontinued from use, including 249 public transport vehicles that were impounded.
Special road safety initiatives focused on provincial border stop, stretch and rest points for fatigue management for public transport vehicles; rescue camps comprising of fire, ambulance, rescue and disaster management services along major arterial routes. Resources deployed this past Easter weekend also included the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) Mobile Broadcast Unit comprising of three choppers and four ground crew vehicles providing regular traffic reports to media; booze buses in metro/urban areas as well as various private sector partnerships with our Friends of the Decade of Action, who continue to go all out to ensure that our road safety programmes bear fruit.
We therefore pay tribute to all law abiding road users for conducting themselves in a manner that says: I’m responsible. Road Safety is my responsibility. We encourage them to be ambassadors of road safety and play their part wherever they find themselves in making our roads safer.
Partnering with successful social upliftment initiatives such as Mandela Day on a crucial issue like Pedestrian safety gives us even better hope that there’s, indeed, light at the end of the tunnel. The strength and endurance associated with President Mandela’s journey to freedom can only make us more resolute that the challenges we face are not insurmountable.
We therefore call on all South Africans to make a contribution towards creating a better society as part of Mandela Day.
We call on citizens to join Community Road Safety Councils in their neighbourhoods. These Councils are a brainchild of and are supported by the Department of Transport.
They aim to work with communities in inculcating a culture of responsibility with regard to the use of the road.
They also help us identify road safety hazards within their communities with a view to raise awareness and necessitate the necessary interventions.
Make a difference in your community. Join a Road Safety Council in your neighbourhood and reclaim your roads and streets. Support Mandela Day.
The private sector remains a critical component of our goals with regard reducing the carnage on our roads.
We believe that the fight against carnage is a joint societal responsibility.
Today, Eqstra has enlisted in our battle plan to reduce road fatalities, by educating motorists and pedestrians to use our roads responsibly. We remain committed to our target of reducing road traffic fatalities by 50% by 2020. We remain determined to ensure that our road networks are not turned into grave yards by unruly motorists and pedestrians.
Ladies and gentlemen, more than 90% of crashes on South Africa’s roads, and related fleet costs, are due to driver behaviour. Eqstra has made a rallying call, and has developed, and is implementing, an extensive driver management programme. This programme is proven to reduce fuel consumption, maintenance and accidents.
Eqstra has a responsibility as a fleet management company, and, hence, its involvement in changing driver and pedestrian behaviour as well as infrastructure development where necessary. Most of the fleet they own, and manage for customers, has a direct impact on the condition of South African roads. As their driver management programmes has delivered a solid Return on Investment for customers, Eqstra wanted to take the programme to ordinary South African citizens in an effort to save lives, by reducing the number of pedestrian deaths during the Decade of Action for Road Safety.
In addition, Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics Division has an asset base of over R1.8 billion, and an owned and managed fleet of more than 46 000 vehicles, a truck parts manufacturing plant, a commodities and logistics business offering a wide range of solutions to its broad base of customers.
You will agree that if road safety education is carried out through the drivers of these 46 000 vehicles, it would be a life-long development in the history of South Africa’s Road Safety Strategy intervention.
You would also recall that at COP17, we defined and explained our commitment, as the transport sector, to reduced carbon emissions. Eqstra monitors its carbon footprint, and is taking concrete steps to reduce its impact on the environment. Some of Eqstra’s initiatives include:
Off-setting carbon emissions by planting 12 000 trees in disadvantaged areas, under the auspices of Food and Trees for Africa.
In 2011, Eqstra established a sustainable first corporate bamboo project in Leandre, which has set up six Co-Ops each with 12 members who fully own the business. This has provided skills development, job creation and employment.
Installation of solar geysers in economically disadvantaged communities.
“Eqstralution” is the name of the group’s Corporate Social Investment initiative. This focuses on supporting education in South Africa, from pre-school to tertiary level, with particular emphasis on technical schools. Eqstra believes it is crucial to build South Africa’s technical skills base, to ensure that the country is able to maintain economic competiveness and grow the economy.
The National Rolling Enforcement Plan
Ladies and gentlemen, we have noted with concern that continued lawlessness by road users requires constant monitoring, arrests and prosecution. We have, therefore, revised the National Rolling Enforcement Plan (NREP) to focus on the following critical areas:
The Medical Research Council indicates that more than 60% of fatal crashes, especially over weekends, are as a result of abuse of alcohol, either by a driver or a pedestrian. As a result, I have instructed that a minimum of 10 000 motorists must be screened every month for alcohol, and drunk pedestrians must be arrested.
A concerted effort will be made regarding dangerous driving. Motorists will be arrested for excessive speeding, reckless and negligent driving and barrier line infringements.
Public passenger transport enforcement will continue, and operators and drivers who do not comply with permit requirements, who are guilty of gross overloading and operate un-roadworthy vehicles, will be arrested.
Research has proven that if we can increase the seatbelt wearing rate by 80%, for both front and rear passengers, there is a potential to reduce fatalities by 25-30%. We are, therefore, calling on all South Africans to buckle up at all times. Seatbelts save lives. It will not prevent one from having a crash, but it will certainly reduce death or serious injury by 50%.
The benefits of seatbelts are, therefore, enormous. We cannot continue to ignore seatbelts as a critical safety feature, and all South Africans can make a difference by buckling up.
Distracted driving, particularly in urban areas, is becoming a huge problem: motorists, daily, are seen talking on their cell phones and, now, even texting while driving.
Decade of Action goals and objectives
Ladies and gentlemen, I must stress that we will never rest until the majority of road users become aware of the dangers and effects of traffic crashes. The objectives of the UN Decade of Action are to stabilize and reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world by 2020.
This will be attained through:
Developing and implementing sustainable road safety strategies and programmes;
Setting a target for the reduction of road fatalities by 2020, by building on the existing frameworks of regional casualty targets;
Strengthening the management infrastructure and capacity for technical implementation of road safety activities at the national, regional and global levels;
Improving the quality of data collection at national, regional and global levels;
Monitoring progress and performance on a number of pre-defined indicators at the national, regional and global levels;
Encouraging increased funding to road safety, and better use of existing resources, including through ensuring a road safety component within road infrastructure projects.
The Department of Transport is on a move to create strong awareness of the Decade of Action for Road Safety. However, on our own, we will not achieve the desired results. It is imperative that the private sector comes on board and, together with government, we all fight the carnage on our roads. We need more partners such as Eqstra to work with us.
In our country alone, road crashes kill more than 40 people a day and about 14 000 a year, and leave scores of people injured. Traffic violations need persistent urgent attention by all road users. The rate at which our people are being killed on our roads must stop, and we can stop it. As government, we will ensure that everyday is safe on our roads. These deaths and injuries not only cause enormous pain and suffering to the victims and their families, but also costs our economy billions of rands each year.
Together, we can put an end to deaths and injuries on our roads.