The South African Automobile Association (AA), in collaboration with the FIA, Ford and Michelin, has launched the national ‘#ISeeYou’ road safety campaign, which is focused on pedestrian visibility.
Over one in three fatalities on South African roads are pedestrians, with statistics from the Road Management Corporation (RTMC) showing 5,410 pedestrian fatalities in 2016. This represents 38% of all deaths on the country’s roads last year, making pedestrians, by far, the most vulnerable group of road users.
The new #ISeeYou campaign message goes deeper than purely pedestrian visibility, as its dual purpose is also to drive mutual respect between motorists and pedestrians. The campaign’s FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) funding was made possible through its Road Safety Grant Program, an international road safety initiative that aims to reduce road deaths throughout the world.
The campaign includes print, radio and television advertisements highlighting the dangers pedestrians face while on the road. It encourages pedestrians to make themselves more visible through walking in better lit areas, and wearing clothing that stands out. Motorists, too, are encouraged to be aware of pedestrians while driving. Statistics show pedestrians are particularly vulnerable at dawn and dusk, or when visibility is impaired because of smoke, dust or mist. A critical component of the campaign is urging pedestrians to wear reflective sashes which are easier for drivers to see.
As part of the initial phase of the campaign, 14,000 sashes will be distributed to pedestrians through activities across the country. The campaign is looking to provide reflective sashes to as many pedestrians as possible. Within the campaign, a mechanism has been provided for individuals and corporate bodies to make donations to fund their purchase and distribution.
“One of the key dangers for pedestrians is that they are seen too late by drivers,” explained the AA. “On dimly or unlit roads, and wearing dark clothes, pedestrians are often ‘invisible’ to motorists who may only see them when it’s too late to avoid hitting them. It’s a serious problem in South Africa, one which we hope this campaign will begin to address.”
Casper Kruger, managing director of Ford’s Sub Saharan Africa region, noted, “Pedestrian safety remains one of the most important challenges to road safety authorities in South Africa. We are proud to partner with the AA on the visibility campaign, and we would like to work together with communities to reduce pedestrian fatalities and make our roads safer for all.”