The KwaZulu-Natal Road Safety Strategy
Road Safety is Everyone’s
Road Safety is an investment, and not a cost.
KwaZulu-Natal is recognised as the leader in Road Safety in South Africa.
This is because the Minister of Transport, Mr S’bu Ndebele, recognised the
need for a comprehensive Road Safety strategy. His department researched various
options, and decided to follow "world’s best practice" from the
state of Victoria, Australia.
Several of his staff visited Australia to observe the implementation of the
strategy in that country, and a team of Victorian consultants came to South
Africa in January 1998, and stayed to consult with a multi-disciplinary team of
local Road Safety practitioners to ensure that the strategy was appropriate for
the KwaZulu-Natal context.
The basis of the strategy is a four-fold emphasis under the following
- Heavy and visible enforcement, particularly in the main areas of offence
– speed, alcohol and seat-belt wearing.
- Improvement of vehicle and driver licensing in areas of both policing and
- Advertising to support the enforcement messages, with an emphasis on the
consequences of unsafe behaviour.
- Education of children and adults, particularly of "at risk"
groups such as taxi drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
- Public awareness projects to keep Road Safety on everybody’s agenda, and
to encourage compliance and support.
- Community programmes to ensure buy-in, development and capacity building,
especially of previously disadvantaged communities.
- Low cost engineering programs at high risk hazardous locations. These
involve erection of traffic lights, speed reduction by speed tables, rumble
strips or building of pavements or barriers, or other remedial measures.
- Improvement of vehicle design and maintenance, including vehicle
roadworthiness and testing.
- Control of heavy vehicles.
- Evaluation of all projects to ensure responsible use of money, and
effectiveness of the measures.
- Production of accurate and up-to-date data on which to base planning and
- Research projects to ensure effective implementation of various measures,
to ensure a scientifically based, data-driven strategy.
Asiphephe reduced crashes by an unprecedented 35% between 1996 and 1998. The
effectiveness of the KwaZulu-Natal "Asiphephe – Let us be safe"
project led to the establishment of Arrive Alive. This started as a diluted
version of the Victorian strategy, focussing on holiday periods.
During the most recent phase of Arrive Alive, it has become a year-round
programme, using the four elements education, enforcement, engineering and
evaluation in a country-wide Road Safety initiative which is known and
understood by over 90% of people in this country. This is remarkable marketing
in a country with such high levels of illiteracy.
What is important is that Road Safety programmes are holistic, that they
focus on the most dangerous areas of behaviour and location, and that people
understand and support the strategy. Communities need to understand that the
death rate on South Africa’s roads is unacceptable, and that the trauma, pain
and financial costs of crashes can be substantially reduced by a commitment to
behaviour and attitude change.