ROAD SAFETY IN SOUTH AFRICA
-:: -HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE -::-
The National Department of Transport sent a delegation from KwaZulu Natal in 1996/1997 to go to Victoria, Australia to investigate the "World's Best Practice" on road safety in that state. This was then introduced in KZN originally as Project Victoria, and then rolled out nationally as the Short Term Implementation Project (STIP) prior to Arrive Alive. The success in KZN of 31% reduction between 1996 and 1999 was unprecedented in the developing world, according to Dr Wendy Watson, General Manager Land Transport Regulation.
The Department of Transport has launched the Arrive Alive Road Safety Campaign as a short term initiative to reduce the carnage on our roads in 1997. The first campaign ran from 1 October 1997 to the end of January 1998. This formed part of a R53 million national campaign and involved spending an additional 250,000 man -hours on the roads, in mobile courts, on daily roadblocks, on patrols and in administrative offices. Although this campaign involved all nine provinces, the campaign was specifically targeted Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape.
This campaign was applauded in November 1997 as one of the best initiatives to date and as being a significant step in initiating a positive change in the attitude of road users. It was reported that the number of accident and the fatality rates appeared to have decreased significantly since the launch of the campaign.
During the second campaign - February 1998 – April 1998, driver fatigue was addressed as an important factor over the Easter holiday period when people travel long distances over a short time period.
The third campaign that started in October 1998 highlighted pedestrian safety and increased the public awareness of the high number of pedestrians who died on the roads each year.
Today the Arrive Alive campaigns have become an important part of the Road Traffic Safety Projects of the Department of Transport. The death toll on the roads over the December 2002 – January 2003 holiday period has lead to increasing pressure on the Department of Transport amidst allegations of failure of the Arrive Alive campaign. The merits of this campaign and the importance thereof can however not be disputed. The Arrive Alive campaign is not the mere function of one person or one department but should be seen as an effort by the whole of South Africa to take hands in the promotion of Road Safety.
Transport Month: October 2006
At the Launch of Transport Month 2006 the Department of Transport provided insight into the strategy to be followed at National level over the next 3 years:
“An efficient transport system remains the main pillar of every successful and growing economy. The Department of Transport [DoT] has programmes and transport systems that enhance poverty eradication, job creation, economic development, reducing the cost of doing business and traveling times. Transport is a responsibility that cuts across all spheres of government; requiring consistent co-operative governance, cooperation and coordination at all levels. Road traffic management, non-motorized transport, intra-city freight systems, public transport integration and inter-modal linkages for cargo and people, as well as land use planning are all issues being considered as part of an effective transport planning strategy” says the Director-General of Transport, Ms Mpumi Mpofu.
It is the responsibility of the Department of Transport to ensure that all modes of transport including taxis, buses, trains and aeroplanes are operated in such a way that overall customer satisfaction and safety is achieved. South Africans can only be active participants in economic growth if our transport services enable them to carry out their businesses effectively.
The Department of Transport will focus on the following major areas in the next three years:
The focus on public transport will include transformation of the minibus taxis, renewal of train coaches and bus coaches. According to the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) released in 2005 more than 60 percent of all commuters are carried by the taxi industry in an ageing fleet. It is expected that by the end of 2006, 10 000 old taxi vehicles will be scrapped with a total of 60 000 being scrapped over the next three years. The preferred bidder for the Scrapping Administration Agency has been announced, and operators are heeding the call to purchase new taxi vehicles.
The consolidation of Metrorail into the SARCC will enable efficiency in the public passenger rail system. The DoT will continue to invest more in passenger rail infrastructure prioritising strategic rail corridors that will ease the cost of doing business both domestically and internationally.
The Gautrain Rail Link Project is on track. It is expected to provide an efficient rail service between Johannesburg, Tshwane and the O.R Tambo International Airport (formerly Johannesburg International Airport).
The national road system is well invested in and maintained. Through the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL), motorists are able to drive smoothly on roads such as the N3 to Durban, N1 to Cape Town, N2 to KZN North Coast, the N4 East to Mozambique, N12 to Beaufort West to George, N8 Bloemfontein to Kimberley, N7 Cape Town to Namibia, the N1 to Zimbabwe, and the N4 Platinum Highway to Botswana. These roads are also key to SADC regional integration efforts.
“We developed the Horizon 2010 Vision for our national road system which sought to build on the excellence of SANRAL by defining a strategic national road network of 20 000 km, comprising the original 6 700 Km of roads and a combination of new roads and the incorporation of provincial roads. This vision will be achieved before 2010 as currently the national road network system stands at approximately 16 000 km,” says Mpofu.
2010 and Beyond
The DoT's 2010 - Action Agenda is an articulation of the Department's focus and vision for the transport sector. “Our airports, roads, railways and other infrastructure are being revamped to accommodate the 2010 World Cup. After 2010 our economy must be robust and our international image will continue to flourish. Our injection of R3.5 billion in transport infrastructure will go a long way into balancing the needs of our much-desired objectives for growth and development. This legacy must remain beyond 2010,” says Minister of Transport, Mr Jeff Radebe.
The National Freight Logistics Strategy (NFLS) is the DoT's guideline to plan and invest in terms of freight. South Africa's roads have been overburdened with huge volumes of freight. The NFLS will be used to lead investment in infrastructure and to enhance freight logistics operations.
The establishment of the Road Traffic Management Cooperation (RTMC) will enhance the management of the national traffic information system (NaTIS), traffic information, traffic training, education and road safety. The DoT, in conjunction with the RTMC and the Metropolitan Traffic authorities, will oversee law enforcement activities, driving license testing centres and vehicle testing stations. In addition, efforts to eradicate irregular and fraudulent activities or corruption in these areas will be intensified.
Corridor development is a core project. The Gauteng-Durban Corridor aims to optimise and integrate all activities along the corridor to improve efficiency. The linking of City Deep, the planned Harrismith Hub, Durban Container Terminal, Dube Trade Port and other infrastructure and operational initiatives will improve the situation.
“The tremendous challenge we face is to implement programmes that are informed by the social condition of our people. Our present tasks include transforming our transport system to being the backbone of economic development,” says Radebe.
With new data becoming available it has become evident that much more than an "Arrive Alive Campaign" is required for road safety in South Africa. More and more South African corporates and individuals have decided to assist with their own "Road Safety Initiatives. The development team of the web site www.arrivealive.co.za has decided to include these other initiatives in this road safety information portal.
For a better understanding of Road Safety in South Africa also visit the following sections: