Driver attitudes need to change - Ndebele

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Johannesburg - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele says road safety campaigns will only succeed when road users change their attitude towards the rules of the road.

Making the country's roads safer is more than just the responsibility of law enforcement, but a collective responsibility of everyone in society including the private sector, he said, speaking at the launch of the Imperial I-Pledge Road Safety Campaign in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The campaign encourages companies to implement stringent road safety policies to improve compliance to basic road safety rules such as the wearing of seatbelts, not using cell phones when driving, especially companies which make use of company vehicles.

In South Africa, road crashes kill over 14 000 people every year. Most of these crashes involve company vehicles and occur when an employee is on duty, according to the minister, who added that this meant that a collaborative effort was needed by both government and the private sector.

"Companies such as Imperial Holdings have taken an important step towards helping change the attitude that government alone must stop the carnage on our roads. Imperial and other such companies represent the broadening of the movement for road safety. Road safety is more than just the responsibility of government and road safety agencies, but our collective responsibility as society in all spheres of life," he said.

Ndebele said the private sector must emphasize road safety awareness and there should be stringent consequences if road safety practices are not followed.

"I want to congratulate IMPERIAL for the brave commitment the company has made to become a leading force for change towards ending the carnage on our roads. I urge the entire private sector to adopt Imperial's selfless commitment to prioritise road safety in the work place," he said.

Imperial, which employs about 40 000 people, launched its campaign with the theme "safer, friendlier roads start with me". The campaign was introduced to employees in July before seeking to change South African motorists attitude on the roads.

IMPERIAL's executive director for strategic development, Tak Hiemstra said: "The essence of the campaign is that road safety starts with every one of us. As a group, we started with ourselves by encouraging our employees to personally pledge their commitment to better behavior on the roads.

"It made a real difference in our attitudes. We are now driving a campaign to the South African public to change their behavior as well."