With one in three fatalities on South African roads being pedestrians, truckers will be pleased to hear that the Automobile Association (AA), in collaboration with the FIA, Ford and Michelin has launched a road safety campaign focussed on pedestrian visibility. This national campaign is known as the #ISeeYou campaign.
The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) funding was made possible through its Road Safety Grant Programme, an international road safety initiative which aims to reduce road deaths throughout the world.
Statistics from the Road Management Corporation (RTMC) show 5 410 pedestrians died on our roads in 2016. This represents a shocking 38 percent of all deaths on the country’s roads last year making pedestrians, by far, the most vulnerable group of road users.
The #ISeeYou message goes deeper than pedestrian visibility; its dual purpose is also to drive mutual respect between motorists and pedestrians.
“One of the key dangers for pedestrians is that they are seen too late by drivers. On dimly or unlit roads, and wearing dark clothes, pedestrians are often ‘invisible’ to drivers who may only see them when it’s too late to avoid hitting them. It’s a serious problem in South Africa, one which we hope this campaign will begin to address,” says the AA.
The campaign includes print, radio and television advertisements highlighting the dangers pedestrians face while on the road. It encourages pedestrians to make themselves more visible through walking in better lit areas, and wearing clothing that stands out. Drivers too are encouraged to be aware of pedestrians while driving.
“Pedestrian safety remains one of the most important challenges to road safety authorities in South Africa. We are proud to partner with the AA on the visibility campaign, and we would like to work together with communities to reduce pedestrian fatalities and make our roads safer for all,” says Casper Kruger, managing director of Ford Motor Company Sub Saharan Africa region.
According to Ganganjot Singh, the Commercial Director for Michelin, road safety is a key priority for the Michelin Group which is why, in various ways, Michelin has been funding road safety awareness and education projects for the public’s interest.
Statistics show pedestrians are particularly vulnerable at dawn and dusk, or when visibility is impaired because of smoke, dust or mist.
A critical component of the campaign is urging pedestrians to wear reflective sashes which are easier for drivers to see. As part of the initial phase of the campaign, 14 000 sashes will be distributed to pedestrians through activations across the country.
The campaign is looking to provide reflective sashes to as many pedestrians as possible. Within the campaign, a mechanism has been provided for individuals and corporates to make donations to fund the purchasing and distribution of more sashes. Anyone interested in joining the campaign can visit www.aa.co.za to make a donation. In this way, the AA hopes many more South Africans can make it home safely at night.