The majority of road deaths occurring in Khayelitsha are the result of alcohol abuse and the failure to adhere to road instructions, by pedestrians and motorists. Khayelitsha and Gugulethu, have been described road accident hot spots. This emerged when the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, Youth in Road Safety South Africa and Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) held an Arrive Alive information campaign at False Bay College on Thursday February 22.
The campaign was aimed at educating the students about the importance of adhering to road instructions and the role they could play in reducing the road carnage.
The key message delivered was that road safety was everyone’s responsibility and the youth were urged to be vigilant on the road, especially at night and over weekends. The officials shared with the students the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. They also pointed out that many of the road accidents in the area took place between Friday and the early hours of Monday. They said fatigue was also one of the key contributing factors to many road deaths.
Provincial chairperson of Youth in Road Safety South Africa, Potho Tobese, said the United Nations (UN) had taken a resolution that by 2020 all countries should have at least reduced road deaths by 50%.
Ms Tobese said according to their data male drivers were found to be the main culprits when it came to road accidents. She said they also discovered that many accidents were caused by young people which was why they were targeting their responsible road use campaign at them.
“We want to end road deaths. The roads in the township are becoming unsafe and that is not cool. “We have demonstrated to the students what a person who drives under the influence of alcohol is like. We are also aiming to curb reckless driving in our areas,” she said.Ms Tobese said they were going to embark on a number of campaigns and wanted young people to make a pledge that they would adhere to instructions.
She said they had also noticed that drivers were more likely to flout the rules of the road when they drove in the townships.
Sub-head for road safety facilitation at RTMC, Keitumele Mathiba, said they were worried that young people – particularly young men -were dying on the roads.
“We want youth to learn about road safety, but most importantly we want them to understand that failing to adhere to road rule might cause the death of an innocent person,” she said. Student Nosicel Planga said she had learnt a lot and now intended to pass the message about road safety on to her friends and relatives – and urged young people to responsible drivers.