The Automobile Association (AA) has noted the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global status report on road safety 2015, released on 19 October.
The report highlights that there were 13 802 fatalities in the 2010/2011 period in South Africa. It further notes that the government has set a target of a 50% reduction of this figure.
The WHO report is the third in the series on global road safety and follows similar reports in 2013 and 2009. It is part of the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety aimed at reducing road deaths by 2020.
The AA is concerned that the South African figures used to compile the report are outdated and therefore provide little or no measure for meaningful reflection on the state of road safety in the country, nor does it reflect on the progress of government in reaching its targets. In fact, the AA notes, of the 180 countries surveyed for the report, South Africa has the most outdated reported road traffic fatalities dating back to 2011, against 2013 for the majority of the other countries.
“Given that the data is not updated, it is difficult to measure the success or failure of any campaign aimed at improving road safety in the country. Without these updated figures, organisations involved in promoting road safety are forced to speculate on the results of their campaigns,” the AA noted.
Of particular concern, the AA said, is that the figure quoted in the 2015 WHO report (supplied by the Road Traffic Management Corporation) places the road traffic fatalities at 13 802. This compared to the 2013 report figures (which use data from 2009) that show there were 13 768 fatalities in that period.
“When comparing these figures it becomes clear there has been little or no improvement on the road fatality figures in three years. But given that there are no updated statistics since this period, this indicates an institutional problem that must be dealt with as a matter of priority to address the shocking state of road safety in South Africa,” the AA said.
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