by Alida Jones

Safety on the roads

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Every year thousands lose their lives
Road safety saves lives

When we look at the figures in our own country, it is mind-boggling that road safety is still not a high priority in the government and among all South Africans. 

Many of us have either witnessed an accident, driven past a scene or were delayed as a result of an accident slowing down traffic. Each day, more than 50 people lose their lives on our roads. The government spends more than R157-billion on road accidents – this does not include support to grieving family members.

The senseless killings on our roads leave children vulnerable, women struggling without the support of a spouse, and men having to care for their children alone. The environmental impact of road crashes is huge as well.

It is not enough simply to remember those who have passed away, but we need to take action in order to lower the accident rate. The use of seat belts is imperative for anyone who has any intention of travelling on the road. Wearing a seat belt is not only the responsibility of the driver, but also that of his/her passengers.

Research shows that nearly 85% of parents fail to buckle up their children securely. These are not ACCIDENTS killing people on our roads – these are killings. If you disobey the rules of the road, you are a killer.

The safety of children is something we should take to heart. In 2011, approximately 1 500 children were killed on our roads and 15 000 seriously injured. 

On World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, South African non-profit organisation Drive More Safely urges the government to put the same amount of urgency into road safety as it has done for HIV/Aids over the past 20 years. Road accidents are stealing our future leaders and we are all too complacent about it.

Let us all take up the responsibility and adhere to the rules of the road, ensure all our passengers are safely strapped in, and drive with caution so that we all reach our destinations unharmed.

 

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