Aug

Women join hands on road safety

2011-08-01 19:44
Clare Vale, chairperson of Women in Road Safety. The 'mamas' are now in the safety arena - and about time too.

At last the women of South Africa are getting off their collective butts to do something about road safety. This is happening through a newly formed organisation called Women in Road Safety, a forum of the Road Safety Foundation, which has been established by a group of women who have chosen to actively and positively influence society on road safety and safe driver behaviour.

At last the women of South Africa are getting off their collective butts to do something about road safety. This is happening through a newly formed organisation called Women in Road Safety, a forum of the Road Safety Foundation, which has been established by a group of women who have chosen to actively and positively influence society on road safety and safe driver behaviour.

FleetWatch welcomes the formation of this group for in our opinion, apart from a handful of independent and admirable stalwarts like Moira Winslow (Drive Alive), Caro Smit (South Africans Against Drunk Driving) and a few others , including unsung heroes like Mandy Lovell of Bridgestone – the women of South Africa have stood by meekly while watching thousands of people die on our roads every year. They have been conspicuous by their absence and their silence has been deafening.

Sons, daughters, husbands, relatives and friends are being slaughtered on South Africa’s roads and all we hear are messages of condolences , well meaning I’m sure , from people like the Minister of Transport after yet another tragic bus or taxi accident where children’s broken bodies are scattered across the cold roads around South Africa.

I’m sure neither Moira or Caro will mind me stating this (it is on their websites) but both of them were spurred into action by the tragic loss of their loved ones. In Moira’s case, it was after her daughter, son and two grandchildren were tragically killed in a car accident in 1985 that she started Drive Alive.

In Caro’s case, it was after her 23-year-old son, Chas, was killed in September 2005 by a driver who had been drinking that she started South Africans Against Drunk Driving.

So many other women have lost loved ones yet where are their voices? As Caro’s web site states: “This Organization is not about anger and revenge. This is about learning to cope with the grief and about being proactive and trying to save our other family members, children, and the SA community as a whole from dying in car crashes.’

Women in Road Safety will strive for safety on our roads to ensure that the loss and pain experienced as a result of accidents is reduced.

“As part of our personal commitment to road safety, the steering committee of Women in Road Safety will, through dedicated campaigns, positively contribute to safe driver behaviour and attempt to entice road users to consider the consequences of their actions. It is made up of a team of committed, passionate and determined ladies who will use their caring power to make road safety a priority,’ says Clare Vale, appointed chairperson and spokesperson for the organisation.

Membership is open to all women throughout South Africa. “Women are incredibly influential and as mothers, sisters, wives, teachers, aunts and friends they are naturally equipped to use this power to change behaviour in a positive way,’ says Vale.

The savvy women behind Women in Road Safety draw from their own experience and have taken a stand which should benefit the country.

“This strong-minded organisation will not stop, just as any determined women won’t, to achieve and accomplish the objectives and goals that have been set , to create awareness, to educate and to encourage commitment from all women and road users to safe road usage.

“Road Safety is an issue that impacts on everyone, whether it is a direct emotional impact due to a loss or injury to yourself or someone special to you, or an indirect cost to the economy. More importantly we can all make a difference and reduce the number of accidents on our roads, simply by becoming more aware of our poor driving habits and adopting driving patterns that promote road safety,’ says Vale.

“This powerful force for positive change is long overdue and in keeping with the objectives of the Global Decade of Action for Road Safety, we will not rest until we see measurable improvements and better driver behaviour,’ commented Vale.

Women from all walks of life, across all racial and cultural divides are invited to join the Women in Road Safety movement. For further information, email Clare on vale@iafrica.com.

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