It won’t kill you to slow down

AS PART of the Western Cape’s Safely Home’s road safety calendar, an innovative campaign against the dangers of speeding on roads has been launched during the month of August.

This campaign, titled ‘It Won’t Kill You To Slow Down’, will be a multi-media campaign targeting print media, radio, online, and Twitter users (follow @WCGSafelyHome and the #SpeedKillsFacts hashtag). There are speed-related Crash Witness videos uploaded on, and messages posted on VMS boards along the major freeways advising motorists of the dangers of speeding. Radio advertisements are currently airing on KFM, Heart FM and Umhlobo Wenene FM (the print and radio advertisements are attached. Radio advertisements also available in IsiXhosa and Afrikaans).

Road safety issues, including speeding, have been subjected to scientific analysis for nearly one hundred years and a vast body of research has been developed. The consensus in road safety best practice is:
 The faster you drive, the worse the crash will be due to the greater force involved
 The faster you drive, the higher the likelihood of you being in a crash due to having less time to react to unexpected hazards.
 Even small decreases in average speed travelled equals many lives saved.

In a 2006 study, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Council of Transport Ministers determined that excessive or inappropriate speed was the full or partial cause in approximately one third (33%) of all fatal crashes. There is no question that speeding, along with drinking and driving, accounts for the vast majority of the carnage we see on our roads.

Road Deaths In the Western Cape

Road deaths for the first seven months of 2015 have painted a grim picture of the situation on the roads, with very little change between this year’s figure compared to that of last year, according to Donald Grant, minister of transport and public works. “Having experienced six consecutive years of decreases since 2009 (close to 30% decrease), these static and high figures are certainly cause for major concern. Statistics show that from 1 January 2014 – 31 July 2014, there were 748 fatal injuries recorded, compared to 742 fatal injuries for the same period this year. Pedestrians remain the leading class of fatality on Western Cape roads, accounting for over 40% of the deaths. Upon closer analysis, we also found that adult men are disproportionately represented in the number of road deaths, accounting for over 60% of road deaths in this province.”

Employing Technology to Tackle Speed

Says Grant, “In the Western Cape, we continue to address speeding through campaigns, enforcement activities, and through the implementation of our highly successful Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD) camera enforcement network. The technology uses cameras at two points to calculate the average speed travelled between those two points, and then issues the appropriate fine or warrant of arrest for excessive speeding. We currently have six phases of the system currently in operation, covering a total of 452kms of dangerous roads in the province:

1. R61 from Beaufort West to Aberdeen covering 71.6kms.
2. N1 from Beaufort West to Three Sisters covering 31.7kms.
3. R27 West Coast covering 57.2kms.
4. N1 Beaufort West to Laingsburg covering 190.6kms.
5. N1 Laingsburg to Touwsrivier covering 72.1kms.
6. N2 at two sections, including Sir Lowry’s Pass, covering 28.8kms.

“We are confident that our collective efforts will go a long way to encouraging motorists to slow down, thereby greatly reducing their likelihood of being involved in a horrific crash that results in a senseless loss of life. We must collectively do all we can to inculcate a culture of good driver behaviour and responsible road use through focussed interventions and awareness campaigns. The Safely Home campaign remains committed to employing an evidence-based approach to addressing the carnage on our roads effectively. I encourage all road users to partner with us to save more and more lives through responsible road use.”