South Africa’s poor road safety record is a national
crisis. This is fairly obvious to people who are aware of the approximately 14 000 fatalities and many more serious injuries resulting from crashes on the road network each year. Of perhaps greater concern is the fact that there has not been a significant or sustained improvement to this situation for many years. What is not so obvious is the fact that there is no quick or easy solution to this critical situation.
The traditional focus areas of Education, Enforcement and Engineering (the three E’s of road safety) are as relevant and applicable now as they have always been. However, a more integrated approach (Road Traffic Safety Management Systems) has been widely recognised as a more appropriate approach to addressing road safety challenges.
A concerted, sustained and effective effort in the areas of education (especially in schools) and enforcement is required in order to change what I believe is a culture of non-compliance and a widespread lack of education that has become so prevalent and obvious on South Africa’s roads.
What is required is the laying of solid foundations which, if done properly, will reap dividends in only 10 or even 15 years time.
The magnitude of the road safety problem in South Africa is such that serious efforts in the areas of education and enforcement are unlikely to result in improvements in the short term, but this is most definitely no reason to give up. What is required is the laying of solid foundations which, if done properly, will reap dividends in only 10 or even 15 years’ time. But if we don’t continue with sustained efforts, the problem is highly unlikely to resolve itself.
Of course, there is no doubt that we must use the latest technologies…