The Trust cannot replace the work of government to reduce road carnage in the country – it cannot replace the work of Road Transport and Safety Agency…our road safety strategy, is a supplement to support the government to reduce human suffering on our roads.
Our concern is that it remains the case that by the end of today, six more families will have had to face an unexpected message that the person they love most in the world won’t be coming home ever again, because they have been suddenly, violently, needlessly killed in a road crash.
Scores more families by the end of today will have to deal with the pain and upheaval of a serious injury – incapacitating and life-changing.
These traumatic events cause immeasurable suffering and grief, and at times economic hardship for families and friends.
In addition, they cost this country precious resource, diverting these from other pressing health and development challenges our country is facing.
For this reason, it would be peculiar if, we the Zambia Road Safety Trust, part of Non-governmental movement- weren’t present, active and vocal.
Firstly, we need to be active, alive and present because road crashes remain widespread and yet ignored.
Secondly, due to lack of public consciousness and arguably consequential lack of status among priorities, road crashes remain largely a hidden concern, not addressed to any degree of significance in our education system, in the media, or in workplaces.
Thirdly, road deaths are among the most devastating deaths faced because they are sudden, violent and, most pertinently, often kill young; ripping apart families by killing children, young adults, health, strong people and bread winners.
It is fair to say that the average driver still drives with their destination and personal and professional concerns upper most in their mind, not with a sense of enormous responsibility and risk and hazard awareness they face on the road.
Our vision, as the Zambia Road Safety Trust, is a Zambia where no one is killed or injured on roads, and where everyone can get around via safe, sustainable, healthy means.
And today, we urge the government to adopt a similar vision, and we look forward to working with government and all stakeholders to help bring this about.
To fulfill our vision, we want to support the government target of the decade of action to cut the number of those killed or seriously injured by 50 per cent by 2020. We shall target our limited resources in such a way as to contribute effectively to the government reduction target.
In real numbers that is a total reduction of 10,000 casualties over the life time of the strategy.
It is a challenging target, but we must achieve it, and that is why we want each one of you here to partner and fulfill this ambition.
Three out of every six road users killed every day are “vulnerable road users”, such as pedestrians, cyclists or motor riders. In supporting our government, we shall target this group to make the change we are aiming for.
In our strategy we have identified 7 core actions, which are are Child Safety, Pedestrian Safety, Cyclists, Education, Work-related policies, first-aid and last but not the least Safer Roads.
Given sufficient levels of funding we will work tirelessly to deliver the full range of actions outlined above, working in partnership with others.
First and foremost, on Child safety, we noted that in 2014, 209 children were killed and over 1000 were injured. Surely, children should not be killed in this way, just because they want to get out or go to school.
We know road danger is the biggest factor making parents worried to let their children walk or cycle to school.
This past weekend, (Labour Day) two children of the same family- Esther Phiri, 11 and Sara Phiri, 16 were killed in Chipata. The Eastern Province police commissioner Alex Chilufya said the two girls died on the spot in Madzimoyo area after being hit by a vehicle, which was being driven by Mr. Robert Nyambe. These two children are no more. This is the kind of anguish that we need to stop.
This may sound like a bleak picture I’m painting. We can see glimmers of hope by improving awareness of road safety among children. Improving the safety of children is our particular focus for this strategy. And the Trust has already started work implementing child safety in primary schools.
Working with Puma Energy Zambia, Puma Energy Foundation and Amend, we have so far, benefitted over 20,000 children in Lusaka. And Puma Energy Zambia has continued to supporting this great initiative in copperbelt.
In the course of this strategy, we shall continue delivery road safety education in primary schools throughout the country.
We shall engage with children from poor backgrounds, who often just walk to and from school and are potentially more at risk.
We shall educate motorists and raise the awareness of the vulnerable nature of child road users.
We shall support national campaigns by the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and the Police.
We shall evaluate the effectiveness of all existing child road safety engagement activities and interventions and ensure evaluation is embedded into any newly developed programmes.
As indicated in our strategy, we need to K350,000 supporting road safety education measures for 200,000 children to save 100 lives annually.
Some of the sharpest increases are serious casualties among pedestrians and bikers.
The Trust believes that reducing pedestrian casualties will have a significant impact on achieving the reduction target.
In 2014, 816 pedestrians were killed out of 1858 recorded fatalities, accounting for 44 percent of all recorded traffic fatalities, an increase of 30 percent from 2013.
We have developed interventions for motorists and pedestrians.
We want to educate motorists and raise the awareness of the vulnerable nature of pedestrians.
Our budget is K300,000 to save 400 lives.
We are constantly scanning and analyzing international research and best practice, on road safety.
So when we campaign for more targeted road safety education, when we call for tougher penalties, call for safer roads, call for pedestrian safety or call for work-based road safety policies for employees – all of which we did last year – it’s grounded in cold, hard evidence on how we can stop people being killed and hurt.
Within our strategy, we have set out actions to support government and other partner agencies to target interventions that address
• Drink / drug driving
• Not wearing a seat belt
• Over Speeding
• Careless driving and dangerous driving
• Driving while distracted
• Dangers of driving defective vehicles/ not road worthy vehicles
We want to prevent road accidents and traffic injuries from occurring, that should be the main goal to be pursued, but the reality is that accidents continue to occur. Not all the people that are involved in accidents die.
5371 people were seriously injured in 2014. We want to supplement government efforts of attending to road traffic victims and provide appropriate first-aid using qualified and well equipped members of the Trust, in particular youths.
In line with the youth policy government on employment, the Trust in its first year of existence recruited over 1000 youths and trained them in various courses as road safety educators, traffic wardens and qualified first-aid providers. They were trained by the Zambia Red Cross society with support from Bank of Zambia.
Therefore, in the implementation of this road safety strategy, youths will play a key role and as such the trust will engage and recruit 10,000 youths mostly as first-aiders.
The Trust will identify and address ‘critical list’ junctions and locations on our road network and local roads that require minor improvements.
We shall work with local people, schools and local authorities to identify these danger roads.
Working with some school headmaster and the Lusaka City Council, we already have a number of junctions that need to be fixed.
We want improve the safety of the danger roads with minor infrastructure improvements that focus on protecting pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
It’s a given that drivers and other road users make mistakes, but safer infrastructure can often prevent the consequences of bad judgment.
We are also advocates of 3-star ratings. We want safe footpaths and pedestrians crossings, clear lane separation, and safe intersections to be included in road construction projects at only 5-10% additional cost.
This investment in road safety yields a high rate of return when you take into account the costs of lost productive years, health care and property damage, estimated to be as much as 5% of GDP.
The International Road Assessment Program (iRAP) is the main global organization that assesses the safety of road infrastructure.
iRAP has developed an engineering-based system of rating the safety of road features on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, considering the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists and vehicle occupants.
iRAP has determined that a 3-star or better rating for all road users is best practice and should be implemented on all road projects.
Work related Road Safety Policies
We believe that companies should have policies to protect their staff and others from dangers on the road.
The influence of the corporate safety culture can extend beyond the workplace, with the community benefiting from proactive safety management in the workplace.
As part of our action, and in supporting of the 50 per cent government reduction target, we are proposing a national conference on Work Related Policies to be held next June.
We want to invite all safety officers across the country to develop a Private Sector Road Safety Forum.
We hope that this forum will be a formal communication channel on road safety issues affecting business between the private sector and government.
We are encouraged by road safety policies of Puma Energy Zambia Pls, Total Zambia, Barloworld and others who have initiated excellent policies in their organisation.
We want their good practices to be shared across the industry.
We are calling for partners to help put this into action. We need around K250,000 to implement this action that includes 4 seminars and a conference.
I believe that with our strategy, and these forward thinking actions, and a bold, determined approach to road safety, we can stop the needless deaths and injuries on our roads, so no one has to pay the ultimate price just for trying to get around.
In conclusion, let me say that road safety directly involves all road users – virtually the entire population of Zambia, whether you are a resident, a visitor or someone simply passing through our road network.
Road safety is a complex issue encompassing a diverse range of problems and solutions.
These roads are the most dangerous environment in which the majority of people will ever operate, yet they feel relatively safe and society accepts a higher casualty rate than for other forms of transport or environment.
Road traffic accidents themselves do not have a single cause. They result from a number of contributory factors that combine in a way that leads to a road user failing to cope in a particular situation.
Our work is about preventing tragedies, making our roads safer, nicer, more people-friendly places. It’s about enabling Zambians to get out and about without fear or threat, to be mobile, healthy, active and sociable, without being endangered.
We shall work alongside government, to highlight the huge amount of work that remains to be done- to stop the deaths and injuries, and make all our communities safe.
And I thank our government again for your ongoing support, and very much look forward to working with you in the implementation of this strategy.
I am appealing to all partners and stakeholders to read our strategy and make a pledge. We need logistics support – vehicles, uniforms, equipment and campaign resources to fulfill our actions.
Please help us deliver any of the actions in part or full depending on your budget. We would be pleased to meet with you to discuss full details of the impact of your support and help you target your resources effectively.
I want thank Puma Energy Zambia – the chairman Mr. Sikazwe and General Manager Mr. Bane for making today launch possible.
Finally, I want to thank you sir, our Permanent Secretary, Mr. Lungu for your presence and I thank you all for listening.