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Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC)
GLOBAL ROAD SAFETY WEEK SPEECH
07/05/13
GLOBAL ROAD SAFETY WEEK SPEECH
1. Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to have found time to officially launch the United Nations Global Road Safety Week on behalf of the Minister of Transport and Communication. This is yet another opportune intervention by the United Nations General Assembly to instigate countries to effectively tackle the ever growing devastation associated with road traffic crashes. 2. According to the United Nations 1.3 Million people are killed every year in the World and up to 50 Million people are injured and many remain disabled for life from road traffic accidents. 90 per cent of deaths occur in developing countries, including Botswana. 3. Ladies and Gentlemen, across nations, the 6th of May 2013 marks the beginning of the 2nd Global Road Safety Weeks, which will end on the 12th May 2013. 4. Pedestrian safety is highlighted as the focus of this week’s commemoration. And as without doubt, pedestrians constitute a major group of people at risk of death and disability. 5. Here at home, the week will be commemorated under the theme: ‘Safer Pedestrians – Safer roads’. The theme captures the essence of having better road infrastructure development that takes cognizant of other road users, including pedestrians. 6. Botswana has also experienced an increase in pedestrian casualties in the past 5 years during which 166 lives of pedestrians were claimed by road crashes. 7. During the same period 471 pedestrians had serious injuries while 1551 had minor injuries. In the year 2012 we lost 105 pedestrians on our roads. 8. Ladies and gentlemen, the above statistics in our country sadly reveal that the risk is high amongst school going children as compared to other vulnerable pedestrians. 9. It is common amongst pedestrians of all ages to cross the road away from the pedestrian crossings, overhead bridges and other crossing points. 10. Furthermore, inappropriate behavior by some pedestrians to disregard overhead bridges and prefer to squeeze themselves between the pedestrian bridge guardrails is one common pedestrian behavior. 11. Director of ceremony, I wish to call upon Road Users to avoid such common behavioral practices as they can only lead to disaster and undermine Government’s resolve to provide pedestrian controlled facilities as a key measure to improving road safety. 12. Government will continue to address such practices through intensive educational awareness campaigns and school crossing patrols which lead to fewer accidents involving pedestrians. 13. In an effort to promote Safer Pedestrians and Safer Roads this week and as part of the launch of the Global Road Safety Week we hope to engage in the following interventions:- • The continuous marking of pedestrian crossings, • Improving visibility on road signs, • The promotion of scholar patrols, • School visits • Educational awareness campaigns targeted at pedestrians and drivers, • Media and enforcement campaigns. 14. On a longer term and with funds permitting measures such as construction of pavements, cycle paths and tracks, diversion of vehicles from pedestrian zones are to be pursued during the maintenance and construction of roads. 15. The proposed Public Transport modernization project will similarly reduce or address problems related to pedestrian safety in Gaborone and other parts of the country with high concentrations of pedestrians. 16. The project reduces road congestion because high capacity buses which will be accessible to all commuters, including people with disabilities. Proposed bus stops under the project will reduce vehicular/pedestrian conflicts in that flyovers will channel pedestrians to bus stops, avoiding any contact between pedestrians and road traffic. 17. The ultimate aim of this proposed project is to increase the capacity and improve the efficiency of the urban public transport system. 18. In conclusion ladies and gentlemen, I wish to appeal particularly to pedestrians – young and old to always abide by the following basic pedestrian safety advices: ➢ Do not assume drivers can or will stop for you. It is the responsibility of the pedestrian to ensure that it is safe to cross the road. ➢ Do not assume a driver has seen you. Establish eye contact with the driver before you cross. ➢ Watch all lanes you must cross. Even though one vehicle has stopped, vehicles may pass in another lane or in the opposite direction. ➢ Cross the street within the marked lines of the crosswalk. Your full attention should be directed to oncoming traffic. BE ALERT! ➢ If you cross the street at a place other than within a designated crosswalk or intersection, the vehicle has the right of way. It is your responsibility to yield to the vehicle. ➢ Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. ➢ If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic. ➢ Never run or dash into the street ➢ Cross at marked crosswalks or traffic lights, not in the middle of the block or between parked cars 19. With this advice Ladies and gentlemen, I now have the honour to officially launch the Global Road Safety Week in Botswana. Thank you all for your attention.
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