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Road deaths down, safety campaigns working

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Road fatalities on Western Cape roads saw a significant decrease over the recent festive season, in comparison with previous years. This has largely been attributed to intervention measures put in place by the provincial Ministry of Transport and Public Works, as well as several stakeholders seeking to address road safety.

Over the current festive season a total of 197 people died as a result of road related incidents, a notable drop from the 263 seen in 2010/2011. And although many of those deaths could have been avoided, department spokesperson, Siphesihle Dube said they were still satisfied with the decrease.

“These are not a result of just our interventions alone, but rather partnerships with various other stakeholders that have invested in road safety, as well as the citizens of the Western Cape,” he said, praising the public for yielding the calls for better adherence to road safety rules.

He said the interventions implemented by the department were driven by information, which had shown that alcohol and intoxication was a large determinant for the accidents that occurred over this period, both in the cases of motorists and pedestrians.

“We’ve had campaigns directly targeted at that. We’ve called it ‘Alcohol and the Road Don’t Mix’, just to highlight the notion that if you’re going to drink, you shouldn’t be in a public space where you’ll put yourself in danger,” he noted.

The campaigns have been spread using various mediums, ranging from radio advertisements, roadside posters, and even social media, indicating that the department had taken steps to ensure the message reached as many people as possible.

Despite the heavy awareness campaigns, Dube said a very vital part of the success was the strong enforcement on the part of traffic officials.

“We are still the only province with a 24 hour enforcement regime, with our provincial as well as our municipal traffic officials. They have been strong on the road, making sure they are visible and targeting the very important things that cause road deaths,” he said.

With the message of road safety now well place in the public sphere, he said the challenge now would be to ensure the people across the province were receiving, and abiding by it. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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