Parkdale Primary School in Eldorado Park, Johannesburg, was the recipient of a road safety face lift yesterday when the AA donated funds for two new speed bumps and plans for a scholar patrol in the area. While upgrading infrastructure alleviates the problem at hand, the real issue here is the flagrant disregard that motorists in the area have for road safety and appropriate road behaviour.
The initiative ties in with the AA’s commitment to the Decade of Action for Road Safety to which South Africa is an active signatory and alongside their sponsorship of the speed bumps, or sleeping policemen, the AA have committed to a scholar patrol training programme at the school in 2010. “Improving the infrastructure is a good start, but it is vital that we also look at ways of changing road behaviour to have a real impact in small communities and notably reduce the number of crashes and fatalities we currently have” says the AA.
Changing road behaviour remains one of our biggest challenges in reducing the number of fatalities on our roads and begins with instilling a real sense of best practice at a grass roots level. “It starts with the children who, in turn, play their role in educating their parents on better road behaviour,” adds the AA. MMC for transport Rehana Moosajee attended the event in support of the AA and the scholar patrol programme.
While there are enormous challenges from a funding perspective, questions have been raised with regards to what money is spent, and where. The introduction of a fuel levy after Minister Trevor Manuel’s budget speech 2009 aimed to provide funds for the six metros to facilitate improved infrastructure. We are yet to see where these funds have been utilised, if at all, in areas exactly like Eldorado Park.
The particular intersection where the speed bumps were installed has seen no less than four accident victims over the past four months. The uptake on applications is incredibly slow, with this particular one having been in the pipeline since 2007. Zayd Fredericks, a community activist in Eldorado Park, has put the matter forward to his ward counseller, Patience Stevens, with no response whatsoever since his first request. “It’s a question of where you start to get your voice heard, and we are grateful to the AA and the MMC for hearing our plight. We have already seen a noticeable reduction in speed” says the AA.
“As communities, we need to hold people accountable for the role they plan in serving the public, and by doing something, albeit small, we should all take responsibility to improve the current problems faced on our roads” concludes the AA.
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1126