As many as four out of 10 South Africans who die in road incidents are pedestrians. They are the most vulnerable road users, with statistics showing that that men between the ages of 29 and 39 are most at-risk.
AWARE.org (Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education) is shining a spotlight on pedestrian safety this festive season by raising awareness of the risks and highlighting prevention strategies.
“We are focusing on the risk to pedestrians who are not easily seen, especially at night when over half of the fatal incidents happen. According to a Road Traffic Management Corporation study, pedestrians are nearly three times more likely to die in a crash where the driver is intoxicated,” says Carmen Mohapi, Chief Executive Officer of Aware.org.
“Our figures show that Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have the largest proportion of fatal crashes involving pedestrians and that over 55% of fatal pedestrian crashes happen over weekends,” says Thabiso Ndebele, Executive Manager: Road Safety, Stakeholder Relations & Marketing at the Road Traffic Management Corporation.
”RTMC supports Aware.org’s efforts to work with communities in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal on a campaign that can help to reduce risks to pedestrians,” says Ndebele.
Mohapi advises that residents in Tembisa ,Ivory Park, Eldorado Park and Kliptown in Gauteng, and Durban Central, Inanda, Greenwood Park and Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal can expect to encounter trained community patrollers, supported by their local Community Patrol Forums, who help pedestrians get home safely after a night out. Community patrollers are a response to the importance of reducing pedestrian fatalities.
Meanwhile, community media close to these areas will empower people with information about the risks and convey a simple message on what can be done: be sober, be seen, be safe.
Mohapi says: “Drivers have a critical part to play in pedestrian safety by not drinking and driving and adhering to the speed limit. For pedestrians, wearing light or reflecting gear when walking home after a night out can make all the difference – ensuring that drivers are able to see them to help prevent a collision.
“During this campaign, we want to motivate pedestrians to be seen. Hence we are collaborating with a popular local, socially conscious fashion brand – Drip Sportif. This is a brand that is accessible to everyone and the collaboration will amplify our impact for pedestrian safety. Lucky community radio listeners stand a chance to win one of 200 highly desirable, bright and trendy Drip shoes. This serious quest, which is illustrated in the campaign symbol of an encircled sneaker, strives to bring to life the link between being seen at night and enhanced pedestrian safety."
Mohapi recognises that the solution targeted at selected areas is a short-term one and explains that it is only the start of Aware’s work, in partnership with its members and the Road Traffic Management Corporation, to tackle pedestrian safety from a variety of angles over a wider geographic area.
In the long term, the association’s aim is to make road users, particularly those who consume alcohol, considerably more sensitive to the risks – whether they are behind the wheel or on their feet –and encourage solutions that do not put themselves or others in danger.
The post highlights the concerning issue of pedestrian fatalities in road incidents in South Africa, where pedestrians make up a significant portion of the casualties. Aware.org, an organisation focused on alcohol responsibility and education, is drawing attention to pedestrian safety during the festive season. We emphasize that pedestrians, especially those who are difficult to see, are at high risk, particularly at night when over half of fatal incidents occur. A study by the Road Traffic Management Corporation reveals that pedestrians are much more likely to die in crashes involving intoxicated drivers. Gauteng, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal have the highest proportions of fatal pedestrian crashes, with weekends being particularly dangerous. A campaign in collaboration with community patrollers and local media aims to address this issue by encouraging sober walking and visibility through reflective gear. We are also working with a local fashion brand to promote pedestrian safety. AWARE.org acknowledges that the current efforts are a short-term solution. This challenge requires further focus and resources in order to promote pedestrian safety in partnership with stakeholders. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness and sensitise all road users, particularly those who consume alcohol.