On Friday 16 October 2015, SARF KwaZulu-Natal hosted its annual seminar at the Durban Country Club. The event drew almost 100 delegates, who participated in deliberations on the topic of “Safer communities through safer roads”. To kick off the programme, delegates watched a video prepared for the FIA and UN Secretary General for Road Safety, which delivered a potent visual message highlighting the dangers facing children around the world. The day-long programme had speakers from across the Country who shared their vision, ideas and passion for improved road safety. The day ended with a panel debate on road safety, and how we as SARF can make a difference. Some of the key items emanating from a successful day were as follows:
- Road safety is an all-encompassing issue, and recent strides to involve stakeholders such as the media and insurance brokers highlights that we need to shift to more innovative and holistic approaches to change driver behaviour on our roads.
- We need to move away from the thought of a road “accident” and refer to it as a “crash”, as very often there is a deliberate decision by a motorist to infringe on a law that results in the ensuing road carnage.
- Improving road safety relies on good crash data, and eThekwini demonstrated how an accurate and historic database can assist in managing road safety through a Road Safety Strategy.
- Our children are severely impacted on due to poor road safety. Delegates were asked to consider the road environment as a child, to demonstrate how perspectives are vastly different when you “step out of your own shoes”. Further aspects pertaining to poor basic road safety education as well as improper driving schools and fraudulent issuing of drivers licences meant that the situation is only going to get worse without appropriate intervention.
- Pedestrians and cyclists are also road users. This was debated and highlighted by many speakers, there is a dire need to consider complete streets approach to road design, whether in an urban or rural environment. Our roads are there for all users!!! Linked to this was a suggestion to consider an amendment to SARF’s logo which does not consider any road users?
- Speakers called on action and support from Senior Political Leaders to drive the emphasis and importance of road safety.
- There was a call on transport planners, traffic engineers and urban designers to work together to ensure our Future Cities are integrated and walkable.
- Intelligent transport systems and the sub-sector of freeway management systems is being used across the country to better monitor, understand and react to traffic flows on our major freeways. Innovative techniques involving video analytics is also supporting the ability to provide real-time assistance to motorists and pedestrians.
- The state of the trucking industry, and in particular the scourge of overloading and unmaintained heavy vehicles was again highlighted as having a major impact on road safety.
In conclusion, all delegates acknowledged the need to approach road safety in a holistic manner and to implement better road safety principles in every task.sarf-seminar-flyer