Youth urged to prioritise road safety

Thursday, June 8, 2023

With the high statistics of young people dying on the roads due to crashes, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has called on young people to prioritise safety on the roads to ensure that the country has a sustainable future.

This call comes as South Africa commemorates Youth Month, which is taking place under the theme, 'Accelerating youth economic emancipation for a sustainable future'.

“Youth related road crashes and injuries constitute a major health challenge and exert a heavy burden on the economy, and social infrastructure. Young people between the ages of 20 and 39 years are more likely to die or be injured in a motor vehicle crash and have more motor vehicle crash-related hospitalisation and emergency room visits,” RTMC said on Thursday.

According to statistics collected by the RTMC, about half (49.7%) of people who died on the roads last year were the youth and young adults aged between 20 and 39 years.

The highest number of road fatalities is noticeable among those between the ages of 30 and 39 years.

Last year, 12 436 people died on the roads, which was a 0.8% decline when compared to 12 545 that died the previous year.

“Around the world, young people have been identified as high-risk group for road safety because they are inexperienced, and they tend to overestimate their abilities.

“Their behaviour patterns are strongly associated with expectations and social pressures that promote risk taking. Many tend to be strongly oriented towards and are sensitive to peer pressure.

“They are responsive to their immediate environments where they are limited in self-control, and disinclined to focus on long-term consequences, all of which leads to compromised decision-making skills,” RTMC said.

In line with a call by the Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety, young people in South Africa must claim their space in debates and in shaping policies that are intended to make roads safer.

To facilitate this, the RTMC, in collaboration with the national Department of Transport, provincial, non-government organisations, institutions of higher education and the private sector, will be engaging in advocacy work for the whole month to promote responsible road usage by the youth.

Seminars, road safety dialogues and exhibitions will be held in all provinces to engage young people in finding solutions to the country’s road safety challenges. –