Back to school – back to reality: Keep roads safe this year and decade - AA
Public schools across South Africa resume on Wednesday and traffic volumes today and tomorrow (13/14 January) are expected to pick up on all major routes. Normal traffic patterns are set to resume on Wednesday bringing with them increased risks for all road users. The Automobile Association (AA) says this is the ideal time to prioritise road safety.
“While government has a major role to play in making roads safer – including increasing the number of traffic law enforcers, increasing funding and resources for traffic law enforcement – motorists have an equally important role to play. In addition to ensuring roads are safe through their daily behaviour, they need to set an example for the next generation of road users,” says the AA.
The Association says it is critical that, as schools reopen, parents, guardians, and other drivers who transport children ensure:
• All passengers – even those in the back seat – are properly secured in child restraints, or are wearing seatbelts,
• That any child restraints are properly fastened and properly attached the vehicle,
• They an example by obeying the rules of the road. This includes driving to the conditions of the road, and not using any electronic devices while driving,
• That they understand that they share the road with others and remain calm behind the wheel,
• All passengers in the vehicle are seated while driving, and, if they are operating a public transport vehicle, ensure they are not exceeding the capacity of passengers allowed for their specific vehicle,
• They leave enough time to reach their destination without having the stress of trying to make up time to get to school or work on time (this includes monitoring social media and listening to radio traffic reports for crashes which may delay them),
• That their vehicle is properly maintained and in a roadworthy condition (this includes checking wiper blades and tyres), and,
• They are ready to play their role in making South Africa’s roads safer for all road users.
In addition, the AA says it is important, as people return to work and school, that motorists understand they have a duty to ensure the next generation of motorists is equally respectful behind the wheel.
“Many young drivers with their first vehicles are elated at the freedom they now enjoy, without necessarily considering their role in making roads safer. It is the duty of all parents and guardians with new drivers to educate them on the importance of road safety and their obligations on the road. In the absence of formal, government intervention in this regard, it becomes the duty of current drivers to pass these messages along,” concludes the AA.