EDITOR’S NOTE: Do something about not becoming a statistic
THE Easter holidays are behind us and once again road safety and the death toll on South African roads are in the spotlight. The passing of Minister Collins Chabane in a car crash made headlines recently and this week it is the sad news that Free State Stars player Richard Henyekane has also joined the statistics.
Statistics make for scary reading. Just a couple of weeks ago, 150 people died when a Germanwings Airbus A320 was deliberately flown into the French Alps. Even before the terrible facts of what happened began to emerge, the crash and loss of life was the lead story on most major global news networks.
Now try to imagine this. Every single day, 3,200 people die around the world in road crashes. That is equivalent to eight Boeing 747s crashing with no survivors every day. Or 21 Germanwings Airbus A320s. Every day.
In 2014, there were 33 air crashes worldwide, with 1,238 people killed. That was in the entire year. Almost every single one made headlines.
Statistically, 1,240 people will die on South African roads this month. That is more than the entire fatality number for air crashes in 2014 worldwide. On average, 40 people lose their lives on our roads every day. That could be the equivalent to all your co-workers in your office, all your neighbours, your child’s entire class.
And it is every day, so once you have imagined all your co-workers disappearing, imagine everyone in the next office disappearing tomorrow and the next office the next day and so on.
Many think that road safety is someone else’s problem, but the reality is that it is everyone’s problem. You might be the most careful driver on the road, the one who never uses their cellphone while driving, never exceeds the speed limit and always puts on their seatbelt. But what about the driver coming the other way who is not paying much attention? That driver will make road safety your problem very quickly and there might be nothing you can do about it.
There is a good chance you know that person. Not the actual person, but the driver who talks on their cellphone while driving, the one who does not wear a seatbelt, the one who skips a red traffic light. We all know that person and we are all friends with them, even though one day they might kill us. Would you choose a murderer as your friend?
This might all sound dramatic, but the fact is that with a lack of proper law enforcement, and drivers ignoring road safety every day, the only way we are going to reduce the death toll is to tell our friends, colleagues and family that we will not accept behaviour that puts us in danger. It is your problem and you can do something about it.
Do something before it is too late and before you become another statistic — because chances are there will be no headlines for you.