Better infrastructure and road safety features needed to save lives – RTMC

The provinces which recorded the highest number of road fatalities involving economically active youth since 2019 are Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

 For illustration. Photo: ER24

Traffic-calming measures should be built in areas with high pedestrian traffic to reduce speeding and save lives, according to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

This comes after the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations that a shift in road safety policy planning, implementation and evaluation was needed globally.

Due to the recommendations, RTMC CEO Makhosini Msibi recently called on road users, road safety advocates and law enforcement officials to partner in the fight against the rising number of road deaths among young people.

Msibi said the shift was required from multiple sectors such as transport, police, health and education departments.

“Effective interventions include designing safer infrastructure and incorporating road safety features into land-use and transport planning and improving the safety features of vehicles.”

The WHO said other interventions to look into were enhancing post-crash care for victims of road traffic crashes, enforcing laws around contributing factors and raising public awareness of the problem.

Recently in Lynnwood Road in Pretoria, Tshwane emergency services responded to a scene where two vehicles had collided then ran over two pedestrians.

“Both pedestrians were declared dead on the scene while the occupants of both vehicles sustained moderate injuries,” said Emer-G-Med spokesperson Kyle van Reenen.

A 12-year-old Laerskool Wierdapark learner had to have surgery to her arm after being struck by a vehicle recently.

She fractured her arm in two places and suffered a major soft tissue injury to her knee.

She was allegedly struck by a minibus taxi as she ran across the road from her school to buy sweets at a local convenience store.

“A total of 8 547 young people between 21 and 34 years of age died on the roads from 2019 to 2021,” said RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane.

He said the statistics were recorded by the RTMC.

He said the worst affected people among ages 30 and 34 years, with 3 661 deaths.

He said the alarming statistics necessitated a call for the youth to prioritise their safety of the road.

“Factors that contribute to the high number of road fatalities among the youth include persistent risk-taking behaviour such as not using safety belts, speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol.”

He said Gauteng with 1 380 deaths, KwaZulu-Natal 1 235, Eastern Cape 1 201 and Limpopo 1 127 led the statistics with the most fatalities.

Zwane said the fatalities had a devastating impact on the economy and the future of the country.

He said the economic cost of the 12 545 lost lives was around R188.31bn.

Msibi said most of the victims were the economically active age group the country needed for development.

“It is saddening to read in road crash investigation reports that in most cases people die because of the failure to use safety belts,” he said.

“In many instances it has been found that safety belts have been cut off or tied under the seats of vehicle and thus could not be used to save lives.”

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