/ 8 November 2011

Transport minister launches new road safety campaign

Transport Minister Launches New Road Safety Campaign

Road safety campaigns will succeed only when all road users change their behaviour, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Monday.

“Road crashes kill over 14 000 people every year in South Africa,” he said at the launch of the I-Pledge road safety campaign in Sandton.

The campaign, aimed at changing the behaviour of road users, was first introduced by Imperial Car Rental in July and targeted the company’s employees.

Ndebele said road safety was a collective responsibility.

“We want to see changes that happened in Australia.”

Australia once had a high number of road accidents, but was able to reverse this trend by getting road users to change their behaviour, he said.

“In the [United Kingdom] they are discussing whether to increase the speed to 120km/h from 110km/h. They want to increase speed because they have reduced their crashes by 75% since 1953.”

Costs to government
The annual average accident rate in South Africa was 33 deaths for every 100 000 people, compared to three in every 100 000 people in the UK.

Ndebele called on the government and the private sector to work together as most of the crashes involved company vehicles when employees were on duty.

Private sector companies should introduce stringent road safety measures to improve compliance to basic safety rules.

Ndebele said the socio-economic cost of work-related road crashes and injuries was substantial for both the government and the private sector.

“This carnage costs our economy more than R60-billion per annum.”

The transport ministry intended to halve the level of road traffic deaths in 2020, the minister said. — Sapa