SA launches Decade of Action for Road Safety

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pretoria - Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele says South Africa will use the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 campaign to ensure that road safety is everyone's business.

He says the Transport Ministry together with stakeholders will ensure that message of road safety is spread everywhere - from- mosques, temples, churches, schools, business to ensure that everyone is on board in creating safe roads for South Africans.

Speaking at the launch of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 aimed at stabilizing and then reducing global road deaths by 2020, Ndebele said his department had already embarked on large-scale mobilization of communities through Community Road Safety Councils.

Council members include traditional leaders, religious leaders, the private sector, schools, government departments as well as civil society. These councils must not be exclusive, but inclusive, he said.

"Road Safety is not what you do to a community; road safety is what you do with a community. Therefore, community-driven road safety through Community Road Safety Councils must become the primary driving force of this Decade of Action in South Africa," said Ndebele.

He said the government wanted to empower communities to become self-liberating through Road Safety Councils.

"Every road safety issue in a community, whether a faulty robot or a pothole in Boksburg, Soweto or Nongoma, must be the business of the Road Safety Council. Members of the community must know their Road Safety Council, which should be their first point of call regarding any road safety matter."

He also mentioned government's response to road deaths, including safety education taught at schools, plans to ensure the speeding up of the issuing of driving licences and the planned driving school summit that will ensure that schools are better regulated to produce trained drivers.

Ndebele gave a progress report of government's road safety plan, introduced last October- to stop one million vehicles every month in an attempt to reduce road carnage.

The plan has resulted with about 34 000 unroadworthy vehicles being impounded in the past six months.

About 3.5 million fines issued for various traffic offences, 13 877 drunk drivers arrested and almost 9 million vehicles had been stopped at roadblocks.

"As of May 2011, no less than 10 000 drivers will be screened every month for drinking and driving."

Other plans Ndebele said include the announcement for the national roll-out of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act and the points demerit system.

A draft amendment of the Aarto regulations has already been published in the Government Gazette on 15 April 2011 for comments.

The department was also in discussions regarding proposals calling for a total ban on consuming alcohol before driving, or lowering the current legal alcohol limit.