SHOCK TACTICS: The Western Cape transport department says its 'First Kiss' campaign has resulted in a 161% increase in drivers and passengers buckling up in certain areas within the province. Image: YouTube ~ Youtube
Cape Town - United Nations TV recently released a documentary about the global road safety pandemic. The programme includes the Safely Home First Kiss TV commercial which resulted in a huge increase in backseat seat-belt wearing in the Western Cape.
In March 2016, Wheels24 reported on the Western Cape's controversial safety campaign, called 'First Kiss', aimed at showing the potential danger of unbuckled passengers in cars.
'First Kiss' was released as part of the Western Cape's road safety division, Safely Home, theme from March 2016, using the hashtag #BeTheChange.
In May 2016, the department reports its campaign has been a huge success, claiming a six-week survey revealed a "161% increase" in rear-seat passenger seat-belt compliance. The department reported a "27.5% increase in overall seat-belt compliance".
A significant portion of the film was shot in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, at the scene of the tragic death of a five-year-old boy walking to school. The boy was killed by a minibus taxi driver who drove on to the pavement while attempting to pass other vehicles stopped at a pedestrian crossing.
READ: The Western Cape made a shocking road safety ad and it worked
We asked Wheels24 users if they believed shock tactics are effective at reducing road deaths in SA and a homepage poll garnered 12 597 votes. The majority of users (7083 votes), don't believe shock tactics will have any effect on reducing road carnage.
Are shock tactics effective at reducing road deaths in SA?
Yes, nothing else seems to work - 2798 votes
Yes, as long as it's not too graphic - 398 votes
No, road deaths will continue to climb - 7083 votes
Maybe, depends on the campaign - 2318 votes
Safely Home Strategic Co-ordinator, Hector Eliott, identified the case for UN TV, and provided the logistical support necessary to produce the Khayelitsha portion of the documentary.
Eliott said: "Road safety focus needs to be squarely on our most vulnerable road users, those who are not in cars. The most vulnerable of all are child pedestrians and we are very grateful to the United Nations for putting the spotlight on this issue. It is fortuitous that the release of the film coincided with November’s pedestrian theme on the Safely Home Calendar."
"The overall trend in child road deaths is downward. The Western Cape Government’s Safely Home initiative is on track to achieving our target of reducing the child road death rate per 100 000 children (0-14) from 11.0 in 2014 to 7.2 in 2019.
"Currently, an average of 10 children are killed each month on Western Cape roads which is way too high", says Eliott. "Statistics also show that just over 75% of children killed on Western Cape roads are pedestrians, and this proportion has been increasing in recent years, as passenger deaths have been going down (because of better vehicles and more parents buckling kids up), while pedestrian deaths have remained constant. This represents a decrease in the death rate, as this is despite massive population growth."