We demand that the RTMC becomes an effective lead agency for road safety!

We demand that the RTMC becomes an effective lead agency for road safety!

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Road Heroes road safety advocacy campaign started this petition to Makhosini Msibi

5th UN Global Road Safety Week (6-12 May 2019)

South Africa has one of the worst road safety records in the world, despite being a signatory to the UN Global Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020). While the global average is 17 road deaths per 100,000 people, we have 26 road deaths per 100,000 - higher than some of our neighbouring African countries with worse road infrastructure and less developed road traffic legislation and vehicle standards. Of the BRICS nations, we rank bottom and we compare dismally to Scandinavia, New Zealand, Australia and the UK, where 5 or fewer road deaths occur per 100,000 people.

In 2007 our Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) became the first road safety lead agency set up in Africa, but after this promising start it has failed to deliver true leadership.  For instance, 

  • It aimed to halve road fatalities by 2014, compared to the 2006 baseline of 15,419. Instead, in 2017 there were 14,507 road deaths - in the first 11 years of the RTMC's existence, less than a 6% decrease was achieved. 
  • By 2015, it aimed to reduce by 50% critical road offences like speeding, drunk-driving, unsafe overtaking, ignoring of red traffic signals and use of unfit vehicles. Instead, these offences continue unabated on South African roads, partly due to corrupt traffic law enforcement agents and fraudulent driver's licences and roadworthy certificates.
  • It committed to engaging the public and road users to decrease crashes, injuries and deaths. Instead, apart from festive season and Easter campaigns, government efforts are poorly visible and its own road safety messages are undermined by official blue light convoys driving with impunity.  That the RTMC has not publicized the 5th UN Global Road Safety Week in May 2019 is a striking missed opportunity!
  • It recognized the need for road safety as part of the school curriculum from Grade R and aimed to have every Grade 12 pupil acquire a learner's licence. Instead, more than a decade later little progress has been made on either count.
  • It acknowledged the failings of the K53 test and pledged to switch to a better system. Instead, 13 years later we remain with the K53, a highly technical test which does not properly inculcate a road safety culture or address the risks associated with inexperienced drivers.

We demand that the RTMC exercises more effective leadership in relation to South Africa's road safety crisis! It is unacceptable that public funds are wasted on ineffective tick-box approaches which do not properly implement the Safe System approach contained in our National Road Safety Strategy 2016-2030. Close to 40 people die on our roads each day and many more are seriously injured or disabled, with the heaviest burden falling on vulnerable road users like children, pedestrians and users of unsafe public transport. We cannot keep tolerating this public health crisis, with its massive human and socioeconomic costs. From being an ineffectual "distracted driver", the RTMC needs to transform itself into the custodian of safe mobility and human dignity on our roads - 365 days per year, 24 hours per day. 

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