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STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, HONOURABLE DIPUO PETERS, ON THE OFFICIAL RELEASE OF THE FESTIVE SEASON STATISTICS AT IMBIZO MEDIA ROOM, OLD PARLIAMENT – DIPUO PETERS

DIPUO PETERSDeputy Minister Sindisiwe Lydia Chikunga
MEC Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana (LP)
MEC Barbara Bartlett (NC)
MEC Butana Komphela (FS)
MEC Vusi Shongwe (MP)
MEC WeziweTikana (EC)
MEC Saliva Molapisi (NW)
DDG Responsible For Roads, Chris Hlabisa
RTMC Chairman Mr Zola Majavu and the Board Members
Adv. Makhosini Msibi, CEO of RTMC
Acting Director General Mawethu Vilana
CEOs of other Transport Agencies
Heads of Departments
Officials from the Department
Members of all media houses
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen

Charles Dickens once remarked:
“It was the best of time; it was the worst of time, It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, It was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair We had everything before us, we have nothing before us.”

This characterizes 2014, the year that was, on our roads!

Ladies and gentlemen, this crucial year marked the end of the second decade of our democracy. As we ponder on twenty years of our hard earned freedom, road carnages is not one of the poignant social issues that we can rejoice about.

Road traffic injuries are a major global public challenge, requiring concerted efforts for effective and sustainable prevention.

Of all the systems that people have to deal with on a daily basis, road transport is the most complex and the most dangerous. Worldwide, the number of people killed in road traffic crashes each year is estimated at almost 1.2 million, while the number injured could be as high as 50 million – the combined population of five of the world’s large cities.

The majority of such deaths are currently among “vulnerable road users” – pedestrians, pedal cyclists and motor-cyclists.

In high-income countries, deaths among car occupants continue to be predominant, but the risks per capita that vulnerable road users face are high.

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is the contention of this report, first, to illustrate that the level of road deaths and injuries is unacceptable, and secondly, that it is to a larger extent avoidable.

Although our road deaths and injuries have stabilized, there is thus an urgent need to take appropriate action.

Road traffic carnage prevention and mitigation should be given the same attention and scale of resources that is currently paid to other prominent priorities if increasing human loss and injury on the roads, with their devastating human impact and large economic cost to society, are to be averted.

Road Safety continues to be an enormous challenge, as road crashes rob us of our loved ones and families each and every day. It impacts negatively on our economy placing an unbearable strain on our social budgetary allocations, thereby unreasonably increasing social dependency on government.

A culture of respecting the “right to life” together with embracing a culture of voluntary compliance is an ethos we still dream of. The pertinent question we should always ask ourselves is: when is that time for us- to respect the right of life for other road users, simply, that time is not tomorrow or the day after, that time is now.

We should decisively and uncompromisingly act against lawlessness and irresponsible usage of our roads whilst promoting a culture of good citizenry as a norm rather than an exception. Undeniably so, “As law abiding citizens we unequivocally admit and acknowledge that one death on our roads is one death too many”.

Ladies and gentlemen at this stage I find it prudent and befitting on behalf of the Government of South Africa and in particular the transport sector , to convey our deepest and heartfelt condolences, to the families of those that died on our roads and those families that are still in mourning due to the senseless killings of their loved ones. Those that are recuperating in hospitals we wish them a speedy recovery.

As Rodney Murphy remarked,
“Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow,
May looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow”.

We wish to assure you that the Department, its entities and its stakeholders as well as all partners will gallantly and relentlessly fight flagrant lawlessness and irresponsible usage of our roads that robs us of our loved ones.

We must however pay tribute to all law abiding road users that heeded our clarion call and partnered with us and conducted themselves in a responsible manner that says: “I’m responsible. Road Safety is my responsibility”.

May you continue to be road safety ambassadors
Together, let’s save lives and move South Africa forward.

It is an incontrovertible fact that road safety is a collective effort and responsibility and wish to commend the role played by the traffic officers, police, SANDF, national, provincial and local Departments of Transport, officials, road safety activists and practitioners, EMS and health practitioners, all transport stakeholders, faith based organisations, freight industry, taxi association, NGO’s , CBO’s and Youth Formations in their gallant efforts to ensure that our roads were safe and unselfishly offered their services.

Our resilience, effervescent determination and commitment fortified our resolve to steadfastly roll out our road safety programmes, focusing on road safety education, road infrastructure engineering, law enforcement and evaluation of the impact of our intervention throughout the 3-6-5 days. This underpins our commitment as a country to the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety.

Juxtaposed against the backdrop of the heightened and intensified law enforcement and road safety initiatives, the cavalier attitude and recalcitrant behaviour of some of our road users still remains a grave concern and warrants condemnation.

The Festive Season spanning from 1 December 2014 to 5 January 2015 depicts a gloomy picture of the state of road safety. During this period we registered 1118 fatal crashes with 1368 fatalities. Compared to the same reporting period last year we registered 1147 fatal crashes with 1376 fatalities. This indicates a slight reduction of 2,5% for fatal crashes and 0,6% for fatalities.

Though we half-heartedly acknowledged the decline, we have no cause to celebrate as our people continue to be killed on our roads due to irresponsible and murderous acts of fellow road users. These senseless killings could have been avoided if we all behaved as responsible law abiding citizens.

Very disturbing, is the revelation of the contributory trends to the road carnages and crashes, which indicates the following-:

Road User Type
– Passengers – 39%
– Pedestrians – 36%
– Drivers – 24%
– Cyclists – 1%

Percentage contribution per Gender Classification to the total number of fatalities and fatal road crashes
– Males’ contributed 75% to the total fatalities
– Females’ contributed 22% to the total fatalities
– Unclassified gender contributed 3% to the total fatalities

Interestingly the fatalities as per the top three most affected age groupings:

Driver age group
– 25 to 29 (12%)
– 30 to 34, (13%)
– 35 to 39 (9%)
Total 34%

Passengers age group
– 20 to 24 (6%)
– 25 to 29 (8%)
– 30 to 34 (7%)
Total 21%

Pedestrians age group
– 20 to 24 (6%)
– 25 to 29 (8%)
– 30 to 34 (7%)
Total 21%

High propensity of crashes occurred during the following times of the day and interestingly Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays being the days that are most affected (at night).

20h00 – 24h00 (25%)
24h00 – 04h00 (14%)
04h00 – 08h00 (12%)
Total 51%

It is quite evident that the wanting state of affairs elucidates the perennial paralyses besetting road safety in our country. The road carnage trends tell a consistent story of inconsiderate behavioral deficit, which warrants urgent and decisive interventions to respond and mitigate this prompting and undesirable state of affairs.

We are playing a pivotal role in the international space of Road Safety, in particular the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety. To this end, we are bound to learn from best models. We will soon be visiting Australia and Sweden and paramount to our visit will be the benchmarking of tried and tested road safety methodologies and practices.

Intensified Interventions will be robustly rolled out during this year and key to these initiatives will be the Alignment of Road Safety and Law Enforcement. The proliferation, duplication and unstructured management of road safety will receive urgent and undivided attention.

This includes amongst others the transfer of eNaTIS from the National Department of Transport to the RTMC and some improved coordination of Driver License Testing Centre’s and Computerized Learner License Testing. It should be noted that the Safe System approach adopted by the country to manage road safety and meet the Decade of Action commitments requires that all these systems be complimentary and integrated.

We will focus and intensify Road Safety Education, regular rigorous and visible Integrated law Enforcement and decisively deal with drunken driving, moving violations and related contraventions. Law Enforcement and joint operations will become a norm in residential and built environment and very specific during the hours when no one expects us.

May I make this clarion call to all South Africans to partner with government in uprooting and eliminating the scourge from our roads. Let Road Safety be our embodiment and epitome that we strive towards, to make” no fatalities a reality and not a dream”.

REMEMBER:
Let all of us not Drink and Drive
Do not Text while Driving
Do not Drink and Walk
Do not Speed
Please Buckle up
Restrain all children

Remember life is a journey, do not let your journey end your life….

TOGETHER LETS SAVE LIVES AND MOVE SOUTH AFRICA FORWARD.

I THANK YOU.

By DIPUO PETERS

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