In response to the alarming increase in truck and bus accidents on South African roads, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has joined forces with leading insurance companies Santam and Sanlam, driver training organization Master Drive, and transport industry publication Fleetwatch to launch a comprehensive road safety awareness campaign. The campaign aims to specifically address the causes of most truck and bus accidents, including human errors like speeding, fatigue, unsafe overtaking, and distracted or impaired driving.
The initiative will kick off on the 27th of July at the N4 Donkerhoek Traffic Control Centre. The primary focus will be on truck drivers, where stakeholders will deliver targeted interventions and vital information on lethal offenses. By promoting safe driving practices and refreshing drivers’ awareness of responsible road conduct, the campaign aspires to significantly reduce the number of accidents and save lives.
RTMC CEO, Advocate Makhosini, emphasized the importance of collaboration to combat road carnage effectively. He stated, “This joint effort with Santam will help us reach more road users with messages that reinforce positive driver behavior.”
According to a baseline study conducted by the RTMC, there were a staggering 4,001 fatal crashes involving trucks and buses between January 2018 and December 2022. These crashes resulted in 3,413 fatalities, indicating an average of 1.33 fatalities per crash. The KwaZulu-Natal province recorded the highest number of fatal crashes involving trucks and buses, with 21.6% or 552 incidents. In contrast, the Northern Cape Province had the lowest number of such crashes, with only 2.5% or 65 cases.
Further analysis of truck crashes revealed that the most critical time periods for accidents involving trucks are between 18:00 and 22:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. These periods accounted for 10.2% of fatal crashes involving trucks. Similarly, for buses, the most critical time for accidents was between 05:00 and 08:00 on Sundays, accounting for 7.0% of fatal crashes.
In an effort to address the physical health of drivers and the roadworthiness of vehicles, the road safety campaign will feature driver wellness days in various locations across South Africa. Santam Heavy Haulage’s Head, Anton Cornelissen, explained that by choosing different locations, the program can reach a broader audience and cater to the needs of truck drivers nationwide. These events will include free medical examinations for truck drivers, conducted by a mobile clinic from the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI). The examinations will assess key health indicators such as blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Participants will receive information on wellness factors, including dietary tips to prevent fatigue.
Law enforcement officers will also be present at the events to inspect trucks and ensure they are roadworthy and not overloaded. Additionally, the campaign will focus on addressing the specific challenges and needs of truck drivers, aiming to make it more impactful and relevant.
Upcoming events for the driver wellness days are scheduled for 14 September 2023 at N4 Bapong and 20 December 2023 at N3 Heidelberg.
The collaborative effort between RTMC, Santam, Sanlam, Master Drive, and Fleetwatch reflects a proactive and comprehensive approach to road safety. By targeting the root causes of truck and bus accidents and actively engaging with drivers, the campaign seeks to instill responsible driving habits, reduce accidents, and save lives on South African roads.