According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, tyres and brakes are the leading vehicle factors in fatal road crashes in South Africa, each contributing 63.57% and 9.29% to these accidents respectively. Added to this, 80% of all heavy vehicle crashes in South Africa during the first quarter, were caused by human error. Looking at the statistics, it is safe to say that more needs to be done by South Africans at large to support government’s commitment in reducing the number of fatalities on our roads.
In an effort to create safer roads for South Africans, Imperial Road Safety has collaborated with FleetWatch Magazine’s highly successful Brake and Tyre Watch programme, to bring home the message of road safety in the road freight and logistics industry – one of the major contributors to road fatalities in South Africa.
The programme – launched by FleetWatch magazine in 2006 – has used education awareness programmes as a means to shift road safety behaviour amongst South Africans by empowering traffic officials with specialised knowledge, thus enabling them to perform better in their profession and intervene more frequently in taking non-roadworthy vehicles off the roads.
Niki Cronje, Group Marketing at Imperial and lead for Imperial Road Safety explains: “As a leader in mobility, we made the decision to partner with FleetWatch Magazine’s Brake and Tyre Watch, as we saw the positive difference this initiative has made in truck and fleet road safety promotion in South Africa over the years – a vision we, at Imperial Road Safety also share.”
Since the collaboration between Imperial and FleetWatch in Potchefstroom, Ermelo, and more recently Durban, 39 of the 55 commercial vehicles that were pulled over and inspected for un-roadworthy brakes, tyres, lighting, reflections etc. failed and were impounded. That is 71% of vehicles being deemed un-roadworthy and certainly a very scary statistic.
Durban alone recorded the most alarming statistics to date with 11 of the 14 vehicles inspected being impounded – indicative of the dire need for more to be done by transport operators to make vehicle servicing and safety a priority, in order to avoid unnecessary crashes and road deaths – that not only impact the fleet and logistics sector but also innocent road users.
“With Durban at the heart of the road freight industry in South Africa, given the number of freight trucks that use the Durban roads on a daily basis, the statistics from the recent Brake & Tyre Watch are worrying. As an organisation, these statistics have reinforced our objective to continue educating industry and individuals to make road safety a priority – this can only be achieved by working in conjunction with one another, particularly during the Decade of Action for Road Safety,” continues Cronje.
Patrick O’ Leary, editor of FleetWatch Magazine and founder of Brake and Tyre Watch, agrees: “Headlines about lives lost as a result of a truck’s failed brakes are a regular occurrence in South Africa and something that certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly. With the Brake & Tyre Watch initiative we aim to put proactive measures in place, to avoid accidents such as these by educating officials that advocate safer roads and by taking action against those that don’t abide – to not only protect road users but the drivers behind these deadly vehicles. Not only this, but we also encourage corporate South Africa – that contribute heavily to the fleet and logistics sector – to take action, get involved and be part of the change that South Africa so desperately needs when it comes to road safety in this regard.”
Cronje concludes: Imperial will continue to support initiatives such as these as we aim to continue empowering the business and consumer market around the serious need for better, committed road safety behaviour in South Africa”.
The Brake and Tyre Watch initiative spearheaded by FleetWatch magazine is now entering its ninth year with over 2200 traffic officials having been trained and nearly 900 trucks inspected over the years.
This initiative is made possible by the participation and co-sponsorship of a founder team of companies who share their expertise by training officials as well as monetary input to make the venture possible. Thanks goes to Bridgestone, Wabco, HCV, Jost, BPW, SARF, and Standard Bank. These companies have been joined more recently by MiX Telematics and Imperial Road Safety. Every event is also co-partnered by the road concessionaire on whose road the event takes place…namely SANRAL, N3TC, BAKWENA and TRAC N4.
The passion and commitment from this team goes a long way to making a difference. As stated by Fleetwatch Editor, Patrick O’Leary: ‘If it helps to save just one life, it would have been worthwhile’.