Editorial Comment

Start road safety campaigns now

EASTER holiday is fast approaching and our highways and roads have continued to be stages on which tragedies are played out, day in and day out.

Unfortunately, road carnages are sudden, violent, traumatic reality shows with long-lasting, often permanent impact, creating thousands of newly-injured and bereaved people. Ironically, most of the crashes could and should have been prevented. In addition, the load of grief and distress is increased by the fact that many victims are young. Many bread winners for extended families also perish because of the carnage that happens daily from Zambezi to Limpopo.

Easter holidays over the years have proved to be bloody. There is a need for people to adhere to road rules and regulations. Road accidents do not only translate to the loss of life or quality of life, but also affect the economy.

According to the World Health Organisation, road accidents are set to overtake HIV and Aids as a global killer. Worse still, while the developed world has cut the number of deaths and injuries due to road crashes, the toll continues to grow in developing countries. The lowering of road carnage in developed countries is due to higher vehicle standards.

We need road safety campaigns. We need the 5Es campaign to tame the road carnage. The 5Es are Education, Enforcement, Engineering, Environment & Emergency Care. Road safety campaigns and the Traffic Safety Council’s role fulfil the aspect of education, where road users are encouraged to adhere to road rules and regulations.

The police traffic branch and Vehicle Inspection Department must enforce the law on the roads. However, there is a need for road engineering to improve. The pot holes on our roads damage vehicles, including damaging shocks and tyres. Thus, there is a need to fill up potholes and generally ensure safe and efficient traffic flow, due to good road geometry, sidewalks and crosswalks, segregated cycle facilities, shared lane marking, traffic signs, road surface markings and traffic lights that work consistently.

Thus, there is a need for quick reaction to road carnage by service providers, such as the police, ambulances, fire brigade and outpatients department of hospitals.

When all is said and done there is need for a holistic approach by stakeholders in order to reduce road carnage and the possible loss of and quality of life. This requires improving road engineering, imparting knowledge on road safety, ensuring that road users adhere to road rules and regulations, having road worthy vehicles and having in place effective and efficient emergency care teams.

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