According to the World Health Organisation, Nigeria and South Africa are recorded as having the highest road fatality rates in the world with 33.7 and 31.9 deaths per 100 000 population per year respectively in comparison to Australia’s 5.2 and New Zealand’s 9.1 per 100 000 population per year. Over the 2013 Christmas period alone, 1 376 South African people lost their lives in car accidents.
South Africa’s road accident statistics are of huge concern and in an effort to make a difference, Cartrack has joined hands with Fury Motor Group to provide support to Netcare 911’s Rapid Intervention Unit which offers assistance and support when road accident victims and emergency services personnel need it most.
The Rapid Intervention Unit has evolved from being a pure safety vehicle that initially secured the scene of an accident until emergency services arrived, to an invaluable support for paramedic and fire personnel complete with extrication capabilities. The support vehicle operates independently from official medical and rescue vehicles, providing assistance in road accident rescue operations.
Peter De Kock, group risk and credit manager at Fury Motor Group, says the unique road accident support vehicle is first and foremost a project that belongs to the community. “There is no charge to the public for the services rendered by the unit. Our priority is to provide quality emergency support in a time of absolute need and when lives of accident victims and medical personnel depend on it,” says De Kock.
The road accident support vehicle will once again be stationed along the N3 route to Kwazulu-Natal at the Van Reenen’s Pass over the Easter long weekend – a hot spot for accidents – and will attend to any incidents in the vicinity. One of the key services the vehicle provides is to prevent situations where a vehicle crashes into an existing accident scene – in other words to prevent secondary accidents.
“The Rapid Intervention Unit has an important role to play and there is a real need for vehicles of this nature to assist in making our roads safer and providing first line of care for accident victims. But the real win for all of us would be if these accidents never happened in the first place – and it all comes down to reassessing our driver behaviour and making changes for the better,” says Juan Marais, sales director of Cartrack, who has urged truckers and motorists to take extra care on the roads as the Easter holidays gain momentum.
“A large number of accidents are as a result of motorists speaking on their cell phones while driving as well as speeding and neglecting basic safe driving rules. Drivers and other road users must recommit themselves to safe road user habits,” says Juan.
Cartrack has issued a number of useful road safety tips to follow when driving – not just over the Easter period but everyday:
- Avoid speaking on your phone but if you absolutely must, always use a hands-free mobile kit to make or receive a phone call. And never text on your phone while driving.
- Do not speed. Speed limits are there for good reason – abide by them. The time saved by increasing your speed is negligible, a few minutes at best. According to Arrive Alive, speeding is regarded as a factor in nearly one-third of all fatal crashes, so ask yourself if those few extra minutes are really worth it? Important factors to consider:
- Pay attention to road signs and markings – they are there to protect you and other road users.
- Get enough sleep before your trip and make regular stops to stretch your legs and refresh your mind.
- Keep your cool and avoid road rage.
- Have your vehicle serviced and thoroughly checked before your trip to ensure it is 100% roadworthy. Check your tyres to ensure the tread is sufficient and ensure that oil, water and brake fluid levels are sufficient before you leave.
- Find out what the emergency numbers are of the places you are driving through or to and have them handy.