Arrive Alive.co.za reflects on a Decade of Road Safety Awareness Online
13 March 2013
It is with much gratitude and appreciation that we reflect on the past 10 years since the launch of the Arrive Alive road safety website on the 13th of March 2013.
It is important that we reflect and briefly analyse on efforts to create awareness of road safety online. We would like to do so by sharing developments during the past decade and also to focus on those facts which the public might not be aware of.
How did it all start?
On the 22nd of August 2002 I came across the Arrive Alive.com domain which at that stage was developed by a Mr Church whose son died in a car accident in the U.S. Having lost a parent in a car crash at the age of 2 years I believed I am capable of making a contribution through the development of the Road Safety website.
As there was no Arrive Alive website at that stage in South Africa I registered the domain and started doing research on possible content. Having read law and lectured in Criminal Law I believed that this would not differ much from a study guide and could serve as an information portal for those in need of road safety information.
Interesting Facts about the Development of ArriveAlive.co.za
- The official Arrive Alive Logo did not appear on the website initially – we did not want to be seen as “Passing off” as the Arrive Alive Campaign and it was only after the Department of Transport requested that we use the official logo that this was included on the website.
- A letter was prepared and shared with the Director General of Transport to explain what the objectives were with the website and how we plan to achieve our goals of raising road safety awareness.
- The Department of Transport provided us with a Letter of Endorsement
- Not a cent of tax payer money is used to develop the website and other road safety portals and development is undertaken through a VAT Registered and tax paying entity!
- Development is done through the Close Corporation - Restegrity Consulting [2003/049786/23] and funding is generated through our road safety partners from the private sector.
- The ArriveAlive.co.za website is today supported by 3 road safety Blogs, 3 Insurance related Blogs and is a partner to the development of the MiningSafety.co.za portal.
Highlights during the Past Decade
There are many highlights and the following deserves mention:
- Road Safety Achievement Award 2007 by Guild of Motoring Journalists
- Mention in the New York Times ahead of the World Cup 2010
- Having the Arrive Alive website linked to official websites for international events such as SA2010.gov.za and the COP17 Conference
- Sharing information on road safety via Television, Radio, Printed Media and Online Media
- Ability to interact with thousands of concerned road users via email and to provide them with or direct them to possible assistance.
- Making friends with others who have shown a commitment towards road safety.
- Measuring the efforts and the favourable search results achieved on the major search engines.
- The Arrive Alive website attracted 480,000 visits during 2012.
Where and how does Development take place?
- Since the launch of the website there has always been one editor and a part time programmer and graphic designer.
- The website has been developed from the offices of Chillies Internet in Bloemfontein where I have managed to contract the part time services of a programmer and graphic designer.
- For the first 5 years development was performed part time and only since 2008 full time!
What were the initial objectives with the development of the website?
In 2003 we described the vision as follows:
VISION OF www.arrivealive.co.za
The construction of the Arrive Alive website has been inspired by the efforts worldwide to promote road safety and the need for public awareness. The power of the internet as an educational tool cannot be disputed and the creation of a high quality information portal will complement the sterling work that has been done by the Ministry of Transport to date.
It is not the intention of the developers to divert any attention away from the Arrive Alive campaign or to pass-off as the official Arrive Alive website, but rather to enhance and provide more information on these and other international efforts to improve road safety.
It is the vision of the developers to construct an information portal to assist the following target groups:
- The Department of Transport
- Officials at the Arrive Alive Campaign
- Road users
- Students and scholars doing research projects on road safety.
- Private business in a variety of industries including motoring, trauma and healthcare, legal and insurance companies
- Victims of road accidents and their families
The above vision will be accomplished through a process of information collection from many institutional and private contributors, and the assignment of the relevant information to specific accessible and educational units.
The developers accept that no one entity has all the knowledge and that knowledge can only be shared through the unselfish contributions from people with expertise in a wide variety of fields. The developers are dedicated to find the content required for the promotion of road safety and welcomes any recommendations and advice. Many other website developers have been and will be consulted and their efforts recognized.”
We remain committed to these objectives!
What have been the major challenges?
• Time / Manpower and Funding
As a non- Government funded initiative the development depends on the ability to fund all the costs involved. The past 10 years have seen personal funding, corporate funding and lots of commitment and dedication making this possible.
When the economy takes a dip it is easy to understand that social responsibility might not be the highest on the agenda and corporates has to focus rather on aspects such as job security. We are grateful for all those partners who have at different stages and for different periods of time been partners in the development.
In 2004/2005 a monthly contribution of R15,000 per month from October 2004-March 2005 was budgeted for by the Department of Transport but NO such funding was received.
The fast developing world of the internet and social media through Blogs, Facebook, twitter and other mediums have provided significant opportunities but also additional strain on what is required to maintain a professional information portal on road
To raise road safety awareness online we could not shy away from these mediums. Facebook was launched in 2004 and Twitter in 2006 and today the Arrive Alive website has an online presence via these mediums:
• Changing and Challenging environment
Not only has the online environment changed during the past decade but also the local and international road safety environment. It remains a challenge to build relationships and share strategies in an environment where there are constant changes amongst the decision makers.
During the past decade there has been 4 Ministers of Transport, numerous Director Generals and spokespersons on road safety. The Road Traffic Management Corporation was incorporated in terms of Section 3 of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) Act, No. 20 of 1999, but only commenced with the preparation of a Business Plan and Strategy for its operationalization in April 2005. The RTMC has also seen several CEO’s and Acting CEO’s
Internationally the United Nations has in the past few years provided excellent guidance on road safety through the Make Roads Safe Campaign and the Decade of Action for Road Safety. Locally there has been a number of new NGO’s and Road Safety Organizations each specializing in specific fields to road safety.
We remain committed to close cooperation with the Department of Transport, the RTMC and other road safety organizations and initiatives.
What have been the major lessons learnt?
Nobody can be involved in a project so personal without also gaining a few important lessons for the future. I would like to refer to some of these lessons by using 2 quotes:
“There is no limit to your success if you don’t mind who receives the credit?”
“Look after the facts and the law/ justice will look after itself!”
It has always been important to recognize from the start our own strengths and weaknesses. Not one person is an expert on all fields and we need to identify where and how to gain the expertise required – and then to recognize that expertise. Road safety should never be about personal egos but rather close cooperation and recognition to others who can make a meaningful contribution!
It is also important to understand that not everyone will share your vision or the manner in which you strive to achieve your objectives. You may be criticized for not doing something in the same way another might do it - but as long as you can accept criticism, consider and debate any differences we are ok. There may also be unexplained antagonism brought about by personal egos – as long as you can defend your actions by ensuring that you have the correct facts to your disposal you will not be side-tracked by the resulting negativity.
Through the development of the Arrive Alive website we strive to meet only one or two of the E’s required for road safety. These E’s are Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation. To reduce deaths and injuries on our roads a committed effort is required to all of these aspects. We cannot perform the engineering, the enforcement or the evaluation – but we can measure whether we are making a contribution towards Education and Encouragement!
The best about developing a road safety information portal is that it is easily measured and tracked online! We can do a Google search to find whether information is easily available to the public and we can use the tools of analytics to measure visitor numbers. Nobody should be able to say that he/she did not know!
Volume of Work and Dedication:
A snapshot could provide some insights to the volume of work on the Arrive Alive website and Blogs:
Pages of Content: 466 Pages
Media releases, Crash/ Accident Reports
- From Arrive Alive 3767 Reports
- Road Safety in the Media 3250 Reports
- Road Safety Highlights 1660 Reports
- From the Department of Transport 1244 Reports
Road Safety Blogs
- Roadsafety.co.za: 2558 Blog Posts
- Roadsafety.wordpress.com: 1809 Blog Posts
- Accidents.co.za: 1513 Blog Posts
- Followers: 3180
- Carinsurance.arrivealive.co.za: 859 Blog Posts
- Insurancechat.co.za:633 Blog Posts
- GeselsVersekering: 231 Blog Posts
- Followers: 11 493
- Tweets: 17 162
For a more comprehensive overview of on activities and exposure in the printed and other media visit the Arrive Alive website for the Yearly Reports.
Appreciation and Recognition
A decade of raising awareness online would not have been possible without the assistance of dedicated people, family, friends and road safety partners.
A special mention of recognition and appreciation to the following for assistance received:
• National Department of Transport and the RTMC
- All our road safety partners for funding, content and words of encouragement!
- Other road safety organizations, NGO’s and road safety initiatives.
- Chillies internet and personnel during the past decade - especially for the past few years to our programmer Charl Wilson and graphic designer Pierre Steenkamp.
- Journalists, reporters and all those in the television, radio, printed and online media who have shared information from Arrive Alive.co.za with a wider audience.
- Internext for hosting and Havenga Rossouw and Viljoen Auditors for financial controls. A special mention to our very first road safety partner DigiCore who, through the CEO Mr Nick Vlok expressed his support in 2003, and who has been a partner to the development for 117 months!
It has been a privilege to be so closely involved for the past decade in road safety – something I am very passionate of!
To express something more personal I would like to quote from the movie “The Emperor’s Club”- ”No matter how much you might have conquered – If you have not left behind a contribution – it is all meaningless…”
The development of the Arrive Alive website and other road safety portals have enabled us to make a contribution – and if the loss of a life or injury has been prevented through the awareness created this has all been worthwhile!
We look forward to the continued creation of road safety awareness online!