SHOCKING TOLL: Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, Dikeledi Magadzi, says SA's festive season road death toll is alarming and unacceptable. Image: ER24
Johannesburg - The Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters, revealed on Tuesday that 1755 lives were lost during the 2015/16 (Dec 1 to Jan 11) holiday season, a significant increase from the 1535 in 2014.
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, Dikeledi Magadzi, says it is time for the Committee to undertake a review of all existing road safety programmes with a view to make recommendations where there are gaps.
'This is unacceptable'
Magadzi said: "It appears that the Arrive Alive campaign is not sufficient and other programmes are needed to supplement what is there. The number of South Africans who have lost their lives on the roads in the period from 1 December to 11 January is alarming.
"This is unacceptable by any means. The loss of lives that could have been saved is unacceptable.
"Stricter regulation and policing of long-distance public transport needs to be applied. The country cannot prepare for deaths and accept this as normal during end-of-year and Easter holidays each year.
“Incidents involving minibus taxis are increasingly leading to fatalities. The public should also play their part and change their attitudes by improving on such things as jay-walking, drunk driving and speeding.”
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Arrive Alive editor Johan Jonck said: "Road safety depends on more than one campaign or single strategy. It' s important to remember that the Arrive Alive Campaign started in the late 90s and has become a very well known phrase associated with effort to make our roads safer.
"It is not only a South African phrase but also associated with road safety initiatives in the US, in Australia, the UK, Trinidad, elsewhere in Africa etc. The Arrive Alive online initiative, developed with the endorsement by the Department of Transport, has been run as a private initiative since 2003 without any state funding (tax payer money) as an effort to raise awareness on road safety through the website and various social media platforms.
"This has been done to support the efforts from the Department of Transport and Road Safety Authorities."
What about the 'Get There No Regrets' campaign?
Jonck said: "The Road Traffic Management Corporation started their own road safety strategy in 2012 called 'Get there No Regrets' in 2012 but this seemed to have been stopped by the end of 2014. Only the RTMC can explain how much tax payer money was spent on the campaign and why they did not continue with it.
"In the media it has been reported that they now are committed to a 365-day campaign for road safety."
More than a name
Jonck said: "I believe the facts are that there are many different names for strategies globally. Whether it is Arrive Alive, or Make Roads Safe or Decade of Action for Road Safety or 365 days for Road Safety - the name may not be as relevant as the effort and commitment to ensure that lives are saved on the roads."