South Africa: Minister Dipuo Peters – Third National Road Safety Summit

Address by the Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters on the occasion of the Third National Road Safety Summit held at Elangeni Hotel, Durban

Programme Director;

All Transport and Community Safety MECs present;

Members of the Portfolio Committee on Transport;

Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of Transport Entities,

Leaders of the bus and taxi industries;

All transport sector stakeholders present;

Representatives of various community and faith based organisations;

Road Safety activists;

Ladies and gentlemen of the media;

Ladies and gentlemen;

This third National Road Safety Summit comes a day after we held the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) which is observed on the third Sunday of November each year by an increasing number of countries on every continent around the world.

This day is dedicated to remembering the many millions killed or injured in road crashes and their families and communities, as well as to pay tribute to the dedicated emergency crews, police and medical professionals who daily deal with the traumatic aftermath of road death and injury.

Road deaths and injuries are sudden, violent, traumatic events, the impact of which is long-lasting, often permanent. Each year, millions of newly injured and bereaved people from every corner of the world are added to the countless millions already suffering as the result of a road crash.

As South Africa we fully embrace the Decade of Action (DoA) for Road Safety call by the Commission of Global Road Safety, endorsed by the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration.

This global drive to curb the carnage on the roads was officially launched in May 2011, and has the primary goal of reducing road deaths by half by 2020. In this the second half of the DoA, as South Africa we should further intensify our road safety initiatives as we are struggling to reach this objective.

A report on the Cost of Road Crashes in South Africa, compiled by CSIR and RTMC in August 2016 states that I quote "Road safety improvement demands full sharing of responsibility between stakeholders. This means that implementing road safety countermeasures is no longer the sole responsibility of government and specifically the road and traffic sectors of government.

Other sectors of government, such as the health sector, should become active participants in the improvement of road safety - firstly by understanding the impact that transport system failures have on their financial wellbeing and secondly by participating in the planning and implementing of improvement measures, guided by the principles of the 'Safe System' approach". Close quote.

In the same study, reference is also made to the role of the business community I quote "Business should start playing a more focused role in reducing Road Traffic Crashes and Road Traffic incidents among their employees and establishing a road safety culture. This can be done through conducting economic analyses using Road Traffic Crashes cost results and Crash Modification Factors in the same way as the road safety fraternity would." Close quote.

The 2016 study conducted by RTMC & CSIR confirms the negative impact of road crashes to the economy at R142.95 billion, which translated to 3.4% of South Africa's GDP, and even 1.4% higher than the international benchmark.

These costs are split as follows:-

Human Casualty 69,3%

Incidents & Infrastructure 15.8%

Vehicle Repairs 14.9%

Given the current #... mustfall trend coined by our young people, the Road Traffic Crashes must indeed fall and be tagged #Roadtrafficcrashesmustfall. We cannot afford to allow the economic impact of road fatalities to circumvent our common vision and objectives as spelled out by the National Development Plan (NDP), which seeks to address the triple challenges namely, unemployment, poverty and inequality by 2030.

Today we have gathered here to take stock of the progress made since the hosting of our two summits. We need to take a closer look at the challenges that we encountered and our collective achievements in the implementation of the resolutions taken at these Summits.

Based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization's report on road traffic injury prevention, we are encouraged to focus our efforts on the following five road safety pillars, namely:

Pillar 1: Road Safety Management

Pillar 2: Safer Roads and Mobility

Pillar 3: Safer Vehicles

Pillar 4: Safer Road Users

Pillar 5: Post-Crash Response

Ladies and gentlemen, during the launch of the SADC Regional Decade of Action Road Safety Campaign in Centurion, two Regional strategies were launched namely; the Pedestrian safety strategy and Seatbelt Wearing strategy. It is these two strategies that found prominent expression in our work as the Department of Transport, which includes SADC individual member states.

Equally, as South Africa in May 2015, we have published regulations compelling passengers in motor vehicles to wear seatbelts and drivers to ensure that children under the age of three years are placed on car seats or child restraints whenever they are transported on public roads.

Our proposed National Road Safety Strategy embodies the principles of the National Development Plan and the Safe Systems' approach and draws lessons from the international road safety best practices. Unquestionably, our strategy will ensure the creation of a synergized "one voice" across all provinces and all sectors of our society to promote road safety. It will also be an instrument used at our schools to teach learners about road safety.

As mentioned earlier, responsibility for effective road safety lies primarily with governments, but without the support of the broad range of stakeholders we wouldn't have accomplished and gained the NEDLAC approval of our National Road Safety Strategy and to this end allow me to express my gratitude to all the stakeholders that contributed towards this milestone.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our Department together with the Roads State Owned Entities embarked on some of the following initiatives:-

We hosted the Provincial Youth Road Safety Summits which culminated into the National Summit, which was held on the 24th - 25th June 2016 at St. Georges Hotel in Gauteng.

Out of these summits, the national youth structure, called the Youth for Road Safety was established and a declaration was drafted. The #BEINGSAFEISSCOOL trended on the social media space in appreciation of this long awaited initiative.

Subsequent to the National Youth Summit, two youth competitions, namely the National Road Safety Debate and Participatory Educational Techniques (PET), directed at learners in grades 10 and 11, were hosted in Polokwane, Limpopo from 4th -7th October 2016.

We are also in the process of establishing Community Road Safety Councils as part of our social upliftment and reconstruction programme in the line with the National Development Plan. By 2017 structures will be established in all nine provinces.

We are working on the process of enhancing the inclusion of road safety in the school curriculum especially as part of life orientation.

We developed the Road Safety Audit Capacity Plan whereby, design engineers are sensitized on road safety needs in their designs ensuring that the needs of all road users, including pedestrians, are being met and thus promoting a culture of road safety.

We developed the Netsafe, which is a computerized tool that predicts road safety risk as a function of specific road features and the road information. The data is gathered by the road survey vehicle and fed into the Netsafe algorithm.

Collaborative work in the area of Scientific and Social research with the Universities of the North West, Pretoria and KwaZulu Natal to research factors that influences our road user behaviour and the pedestrian risk taking behaviour. The study explored various aspects of road user behaviour, including how South African road use compares with international best practice.

Professor Marion Sinclair, who heads up Traffic Engineering and Road Safety at the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch, conducted a study into the behaviour of pedestrians and driver behaviour towards pedestrians on freeways and what drives that behaviour. She found that one of the major problems that need to be addressed is the "hazard perception" of road-users.

Professor Gerda van Dijk, of the University of the North West, conducted a research into the attitudes and behaviours towards road safety of our youth at school level; and how road safety education can be made more effective.

We developed an awareness campaign on the use of Child Restraints features in motor vehicles. According to the study conducted by the Unisa Research unit, more than 555 children from 0-4 years died on road crashes from 2007 - 2011 in Gauteng province only. Some of these children fatalities are as a result of not using children restraints car seats. This risk of death of infants could be reduced by 70% and that for children aged 1 - 4 years by 47 - 54% when they use car restraint seats. We piloted the initiative at Mamelodi Hospital, R101 and Moloto Road respectively.

RAF Amendment Bill is undergoing legislative review process that will amongst others enable the RAF to provide a 30 day "no fault" liability period in respect of claims for medical treatment, a capped "no fault" funeral claim limited to specific items and a single medical tariff.

Through the AARTO Bill, we intend implementing the Diver Demerit Point System and enhancing the adjudication process of road traffic infringements.

Throughout all our effort to reduce carnages on our roads, I am humbled by the responses we continuously receive from many of our industry leaders in the private sector in support of the call to work together in introducing programs that targets the behaviour of drivers as well as introducing improvements in the safety features of vehicles and vehicle components. A perfect example of this collaboration we find it in the Eskom as well as the BHP Billiton road safety enforcement and assessment on their employees and vehicle fleet.

Ladies and gentlemen, having achieved so much since our last summit, we are yet to realize our Constitutional imperative of having a Single Traffic and Law Enforcement Service, as provided for by the Constitution of South Africa, Chapter 11, 199, (1) on the establishment, structuring and conduct of security services.

The RTMC Shareholders Committee resolved that a law enforcement review committee be established to review law enforcement across the country and make recommendations. The approach will follow the same model used by the Defence Review Committee.

The re-classification of offences in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act is receiving urgent priority between the relevant Departments, namely, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Department of Transport and the RTMC in our endeavor to ensure that road traffic offences are taken seriously by the introduction of the minimum mandatory sentences.

At the same time we are hard at work to collaborately introduce the traffic courts so as to give necessary attention to the traffic offences which are viewed as negligible offences.

Ladies and gentlemen, the fight against corruption continues to be taken forward by the Anti-Corruption inter-Ministerial Committee. Government has in place seven anti-corruption institutions and 17 pieces of legislation which are intended to combat corruption.

The mandate of our National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit is to address fraud and corruption within all spheres of the traffic fraternity in ensuring that all drivers, vehicles and road users in general entering the country's roads are safe. The Unit investigates cases of alleged corruption and also cooperate with other law enforcement agencies. We are also determined to deliver severe blow to those in possession of fraudulent driver's licences and roadworthy certificates.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as I conclude, our dialogue and engagements in this Summit will be of critical importance to the development of our country and economy. So let us engage and let us continue building on the legacy of the founding fathers of our maturing democratic nation.

Our vitally important journey towards achieving uncompromised and dependable safety on our roads is shared and we all need to play our role by behaving and demonstrating responsible, patriotic and compassionate behaviour as citizens.

By working together across disciplines and by building coalitions we can achieve more than by working independently.

Let us all put our hands on the deck.

I thank you

Source: Department of Transport