The Road Traffic Management Corporation believes its target of a 25 percent reduction in road carnage will not be reached.
According to preliminary statistics, 676 people had died on South African roads by Tuesday.
RTMC’s acting chief executive officer, Collins Letsoalo, was speaking on Thursday during the launch of a new campaign called “Get there. No regrets”.
He said failure to achieve the target was bad for the organisation, but he was optimistic that a new campaign would go a long way to reducing the number of fatal crashes.
Asked why the campaign was being launched when the festive season was in full swing and fatalities had occurred, he said: “Rather late than never. Any life that we can save with this campaign is worth this campaign being launched at this hour.”
Letsoalo said the new campaign sought to encourage motorists to be responsible and finish their journey without any regrets. He said the new campaign was hard-hitting and would most likely hit closer to home. During the launch, an advert that was to begin airing on television and radio was played.
The ad deals with the aftermath of reckless driving and the consequences that accompany accidents.
“Anybody who is wishing for a safer journey must think about the consequences and what happens when you don’t adhere to the rules of the road,” said Letsoalo.
He said at least 40 people a day died on the roads and the only way to get the message across to people was to show them the hash realities of what was happening.
“We are overhauling the road safety campaign.”
“We want to be in your face and bring it close to people. We are going back to schools and the streets. Now we are going back to doing things such as stopping and inspecting cars instead of only using cameras,” said Letsoalo.
He said the road safety message would be taken to schools and children taught awareness from a young age.
Letsoalo said the RTMC had a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Education to make road safety part of the school syllabus.
He said this was not strictly a festive season campaign but an all-year-round attempt to change driver behaviour on the roads.
Lead SA’s Yusuf Abramjee endorsed the campaign and said all South Africans needed to play their part.
He said road safety should not be an issue only over Christmas, long weekends and Easter, but a campaign for each and every day.
“It should be everybody’s responsibility.”
“If we want to make a difference, we must be bold and up our game. The time has come for the implementation of Aarto and start docking points,” said Abramjee.
He also called on authorities to partner in a campaign to name and shame people convicted of drinking and driving.
Early last year, Lead SA launched a pilot project in the Western Cape to name and shame such drivers. Provincial authorities say it has led to a decline in the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol.
Lead SA has repeatedly called on minister of justice Jeff Radebe to launch the programme nationally.
He gave a public commitment earlier this year that he would, but has failed to do so despite numerous follow-ups by Lead SA.
Abramjee said: “If we are really serious about making a difference and bringing down incidents of drunk driving, we firmly believe that the name and shame campaign will make a difference.
“We again call on the government to act with urgency.”
RTMC spokesman Ashraf Ismail appealed to motorists to think twice before overtaking.
He said three things should be taken into consideration before overtaking: is it safe? Is it legal? Is it worth it?
Meanwhile, Lead SA, has called on motorists to report traffic officials who solicit bribes.
“Do the right thing and do not pay a bribe. Report the culprits and open criminal charges. Be aware of what your rights are when you get pulled over by a traffic or police officer. If in doubt, visit www.corruptionwatch.org.za where you can read up on your rights and report corruption,” said Abramjee.
DO THE MATHS
90 percent of crashes last year were head-on collisions.
40 percent of fatalities are pedestrians.
60 percent of those pedestrians are drunk.
33 percent of people who die on roads are passengers.
Only two percent of rear passengers buckle up.