With peak holiday traffic season already in full swing, FleetWatch has been following what’s being going on out on the roads over the past two weeks and we’ve noticed a large number of crashes around the country. We get daily reports from numerous sources and although up to now we haven’t had official figures on which to base what seems to be an increase in fatal crashes and fatalities, we now have the figures – and it’s not pretty.
Releasing preliminary statistics for this Festive Season on Wednesday December 22nd, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said that a total of 822 people have lost their lives so far this holiday season. The number of fatal crashes with multiple fatalities has also increased by 142% this year compared to last year.
This is shocking and there is so much to be done to stop this road carnage. A lot will depend on the actions of motorists, taxi drivers and truckers themselves as statistics show most of the crashes are caused by human error. But until the day arrives when all drivers have a change of attitude, there will be crashes; there will be lives lost. It is just so sad. And it is because of this that emergency service personnel will continue to be vital to the saving of lives.
The ‘so called ‘Golden Hour’ is critical in preventing death. In emergency medicine, to ‘Golden Hour’ refers to a time period during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical treatment will prevent death following traumatic injury such as sustained in a vehicle crash.
As is well known, emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire-engines in many municipalities are not up to scratch and the country thus depends heavily on the private sector as first responders.
Given all this, it comes as great news to hear that Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa has committed to continue to support Community Medical Services (CMS) and its affiliate, the Road Safety Foundation with a sponsorship not only of R475 000 but also the use of a Vito 114 CDI. The official announcement was made in anticipation of an increase in road accidents as the country is the midst of the festive season.
CMS was established 39 years ago by Philip Hull in an effort to curb the annual death and accident rates on South Africa’s national highways. CMS operates specifically around the Van Reenen’s Pass area in KwaZulu-Natal, offering complimentary medical services, courtesy of doctors and paramedics who volunteer their time and resources.
As a manufacturer that is synonymous with consistently elevating safety levels of their vehicle line-up, made up of the Vito, V-Class and the Sprinter, Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa is also at the forefront in terms of increasing South Africa’s road safety levels.
Apart from being used in CMS’s Van Reenen emergency services work, the Mercedes-Benz Vito 114 CDI sponsored to CMS will also be used for medical research projects and road safety awareness programmes.
“Long weekends and the festive season in South Africa are the most brutal periods for road users as we see a steep climb in the number of accidents and fatalities. It is encouraging to know that Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa are putting their money where their mouth is,” says Phillip Hull, Founding Member of CMS and Director of the Road Safety Foundation.
“This is the third Vito that Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa has sponsored us with and it really is a life-saving vehicle. Besides being capable of transporting our team of volunteers and their medical provisions, the Vito is the most ideal van, allowing us to provide medical care to those who need it the most,” he adds.
Nadia Trimmel, Vice-President of Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa says: “Every life that is lost on our roads is one too many and as the Mercedes-Benz Vans team, we are willing to assist in reducing the loss of life on our roads. We do this by sponsoring CMS with a Vito 114 CDI, a versatile vehicle perfect for unpredictable situations that the medical volunteers may face,” she says.
“Although the Vito is trusted by commerce, service and the trades industries as it has a legacy of being reliable, safe and robust, it also provides a number of mobility solutions for the medical sector, offering a maximum payload of 1369 kilograms. This mid-sized van is making a positive difference on the N3, thanks to its high level of versatility and value-adding features, such as Active Brake Assist and DISTRONIC,” says Trimmel.
FleetWatch has followed the excellent work done by Phillip Hull and his team at CMS over many years and can attest to the fact that through their voluntary services, hundreds of lives have been saved over the past 39 years. They were, in fact, down there last week helping on crash scenes. Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa can rest assured that by coming to the fore with this donation, lives will be saved. Hats off on this wondeful gesture.