Safely Home launches anti-drinking and walking campaign

Minister Donald Grant

Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Western Cape Government

At the 4th Safely Home Road Safety Workshop, themed “Alcohol and the Road: A Deadly Combination”, a new multimedia campaign highlighting the dangers associated with drinking and walking was launched. The #WalkSafe campaign is aimed at pedestrians, and comprises isiXhosa posters and radio advertisements, as well as an online campaign, aimed at conveying this message to targeted areas where research and statistics have shown people to be most affected.

Provincial road death statistics have shown that pedestrian deaths make up 44% of all road deaths in 2014, with over 450 pedestrians killed thus far. We know that poorer communities are disproportionately represented in these numbers, with black males, aged 20 – 34, being the highest risk demographic. Recent studies have also shown a link between pedestrian deaths and alcohol consumption, with alcohol being found to be present in 58% of pedestrian fatalities where blood was tested, and 90% of male pedestrians that were killed at night.

The campaign is live on the Safely Home website, www.safelyhome.westerncape.gov.za, twitter: @WCGovSafelyHome hashtag #WalkSafe #SafeRoadsForAll, and is supported by radio advertisements on Radio Zibonele and Umhlobo Wenene, as well as 200 campaign posters placed at pedestrian accessible locations along Vanguard Drive from Geoff Masimola to the R300, then along the R300 to the N2. This is per pedestrian fatality GPS data on http://safelyhome.westerncape.gov.za/campaigns (IsiXhosa campaign posters attached, English translation “HAVE YOU BEEN DRINKING? DON’T BE ON THE ROAD! Walk With Care).

In early December, Safely Home will release drink-driving radio messages to run parallel with #WalkSafe and boost the law enforcement efforts of Provincial and Municipal Traffic Services. Details of this uncompromising campaign will be released in early December.

The campaign has been initiated ahead of the upcoming holiday season, and particularly this weekend’s end-of-month Pay Day Weekend, where 2014 has seen a sharp increase in the number of fatalities during this time. Research analysis, by Institute of Security Studies (ISS) researcher Hanna Camp, has shown that the average number of people killed on an end-of-month Pay Day Weekend in 2014 is over 6.5, compared to just over 4 on other weekends and 2.5 on weekdays. The analysis shows that average deaths during Pay Day Weekends are noticeably higher this year than the two years prior also considered in the analysis:

DG WC Roads and Transport

I continue to urge all citizens of the Western Cape to heed these very important campaign messages, and work with us to ensure that road safety remains a top priority in our daily lives. You can help by:

  • Not mixing alcohol and road use. Driving or walking on the roads while intoxicated is a quick way to an early grave.
  • Using public transport if you intend drinking alcohol. Remember that traffic authorities will be on the roads around the clock, and you could end up in jail if you choose to get behind the wheel after drinking.
  • If you are travelling in a vehicle, always wearing your seatbelt, in the front and back seats – this one second step doubles your chance of surviving a crash. You can also avoid a R1000 fine.
  • Never exceeding the speed limit.
  • Exercising extreme caution while driving or walking during the following times:

o   Friday nights, from 6pm until midnight.

o   Saturday mornings, from 6am until 10am.

o   Saturday nights, from 6pm until 4am.

o   Sunday afternoons, from 3pm until 9pm.

Pay day means more money available for people to travel, shop and visit loved ones, but it also means more money available for the purchase of alcohol. Greater mobility and greater access to alcohol are reflected in spikes in the death rate over pay day weekends. While further data analysis is required to isolate all of the factors involved, we continue to appeal to the public to exercise extra caution over this time, and ensure that they get Safely Home.