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Cape Town – The South African national transport department was one of many delegations that attended the second Global Road Safety conference in Brazil in November 2015.
Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters said: “The Conference was a tremendous success. As South Africa, we are humbled to have had a chance to give an account of the mid-term progress on the 'UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020', pronounced in South Africa at the end of 2nd day of the Global Summit held in Brazil.”
"That key progress South Africa accounted for were the remarkable strides we have made in crystallising the importance of managing risks relating to the safety of children on our roads."
Government’s plan of action
So what has the department learned from the conference? What is the department’s plan to reduce road deaths, improve traffic flow and infrastructure in SA?
The department has published key lessons learned by the South African delegation:
1 Re-configuration and prioritisation of the road safety management. This also speaks to the need for establishment of a legislators’ network ensuring a multi-faceted and evidence driven intervention to address key road safety challenges in the country.
2 Diversification of the 'traffic policing' mind-set to be more educational towards the road user whilst also utilising statistics and evidence to refocus strategies to address trending risk areas from time to time.
Peters said: “It has been eye-opening to learn from successful countries such as Brazil, Sweden and Australia, that for a road traffic police to make an impact on road crashes, he/she need to educate the road user about the objectives behind their policing, thereby making users more cooperative and compliant.”
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3 According to Peters, the drive towards implementing effective road safety policies has been identified to be central in collaborations with multi-nationals, the corporate sector and civic society organisations.
This is one of the key lessons she says the South African delegation picked from the Latin America and the Caribbean counterparts in road safety management.
Peters said: “The drive towards policy reform and enhanced compliance in these countries has been achieved through civic society leadership and activism.”
4 Youth activism in the promotion of road safety policies and enhanced compliance amongst the most vulnerable.
5 Enhance management of road safety for children ensuring continued emphasis on child-restraints and promotion of road safety for kids.
6 Continued support for Road Traffic Management Systems (RTMS) and the implementation of RTMS (SANS 1395) for ISO 39001, including a focus on Government Fleet, Public Transport and the Mines.
7 Refocusing the road engineering, infrastructure development and the road safety strategy towards implementation of the “Safe Systems Approach”, a system more empathetic to eliminate mistakes that mankind is prone to commit and ensuring that the road infrastructure and the vehicles used amortise the extent of injury and prevent death in the event of an crash resulting from human errors.
READ: Global road deaths: How does SA compare?
8 Multi-lateral agreements across all sectors and internationally to professionalise road safety through academic development programmes and twinning partnerships to ensure South Africa develops a cadreship of road safety managers to implement the sustainable development goals on road safety for the next decade and beyond.
9 South Africa needs to vigorously rally the support and active participation of multi-national companies, business sector, civic society and NGOs to leverage on their tried and tested best practises in managing road safety for their companies, as well as attain resources to fund the country’s road safety agenda as a matter of priority.
Peters said: “Through road safety school programme drive executed by the Road Entities of the National Department of Transport and the corporate sector of South Africa, pedestrian crossings, speed calming measures, promotion of road safety education through scholar patrol programmes and integration of road safety as part of the Department of Basic Education’s Life Skills programme are some of the remarkable interventions that the country reported on.”
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