Typically much of South Africa takes a break around April-May and December-January. The COVID pandemic gave us a chance to look at our lives differently and to embrace the new future. A future made more precious by the events we have lived through – and one we should cherish and treat with care.
For many years, Aware.org, with its industry stakeholders, has partnered with the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) in road safety campaigns. During holiday seasons, we have developed intense campaigns aimed at both drivers and pedestrians.
The message we are sending out is clear:
Make plans to get home safely before you take your first sip.
Aware.org MD Carmen Mohapi said, "The reasons for these campaigns are plain: we want to reduce road accidents and pedestrian fatalities.” She pointed out that while drinking and walking were not illegal, walking home after a few drinks is not a good idea: last year, pedestrians accounted for 39% of all road fatalities. "From the community patrollers to the tavern owners, manufacturers and retailers, we have all banded together to promote this campaign," said Mohapi. "Our mission is to engage people before they start drinking and inform them of the risks of driving and walking after drinking. The message is simple: think clearly before you can't." The nationwide mass media campaigns comprises billboards, radio, digital displays and social media. Hundreds of community patrollers are deployed across nine provinces and more than 50 "hotspots" have been identified and aligned with relevant SAPS stations.
These efforts involve a national mobilisation of alcohol evidence centres (AECs) at roadblocks to help enforce blood-alcohol limits and accelerate the prosecution of offenders.
RTMC Road Safety Executive Thabiso Ndebele said, "The use of AECs, random alcohol breath tests and roadblocks have proved to be a primary factor in encouraging responsible behaviour and responsible consumption. Such campaigns further drive home the message that South Africans must change their drinking behaviour. Our message is simple: think about how you will get home before you've had even one drink."
"Holiday campaigns aim to optimise the opportunity to influence behaviour and save lives," said Mohapi. "And it shows that industry and related stakeholders are actively and visibly making a concerted effort to influence a reduction in alcohol-induced accidents over holiday periods."
Aware.org and the RTMC have launched a four-week campaign in South Africa to promote road safety during the holiday season. The initiative targets both drivers and pedestrians, emphasising the importance of planning safe transportation before drinking. The campaign includes billboards, radio, digital displays, and social media, aiming to reduce alcohol-related accidents and encourage responsible behaviour.