IMPERIAL Holdings launched its I-Pledge road safety campaign to the media, government, transport and road safety stakeholders in Sandton today (November 8). Minister of Transport Dr Sibusiso Ndebele gave a keynote address and road safety and transport experts took part in a panel discussion.
South Africa is facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge when it comes to entrenching a culture of safe, educated and courteous road use and automotive and logistics group IMPERIAL truly believes that for any change to happen and to be sustainable, there needs to a personal attitude and behaviour shift in the hearts and minds of people using the roads every day - be they pedestrians, bus and truck drivers, motorists, cyclists or bikers.
Tak Hiemstra, IMPERIAL's executive director for strategic development, shared the background to the campaign: "We are committing significant resources to the I-Pledge campaign and received overwhelming support from all concerned. It also united our employees across our 145 companies behind a common cause and our vision of a company that really cares."
Safety starts at home
Positioned around the statement ‘Safer, friendlier roads start with you', the campaign was introduced to employees in July, demonstrating that before IMPERIAL could seek to ‘change South Africa', it needed to get the support of its own employees. Since then the I-Pledge counter has amassed over 25,400 pledges.
"The essence of the campaign is that road safety starts with every one of us. As a group, we started with ourselves by encouraging our employees to personally pledge their commitment to better behaviour on the roads. It made a real difference in our attitudes. We are now driving a campaign to the South African public to change their behaviour as well," said Hiemstra.
Addressing the issue of road safety together
Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said, "In South Africa, road crashes result in at least 40 deaths every day, 1000 deaths every month and about 14 000 a year, leaving scores injured. Globally, road crashes account for 1.3 million deaths. The carnage is estimated to cost more than R60 billion to our domestic economy. Clearly this is a cost we can least afford."
"With the launch of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, road safety is now a global challenge.
The Department of Transport wants to form solid partnerships with organised labour, business, the religious communities, civil society and other organisations to address the issue.
"The Department of Transport is proud to partner with IMPERIAL and the I-Pledge campaign. IMPERIAL has engaged with numerous stakeholders in the road, transport and safety arenas and has recently joined hands with the Department of Transport as a Friend of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020."
Panel discussion further highlights the need for collaboration
Facilitated by talk show host, Kieno Kammies, the I-Pledge panel discussion invited the inputs of Dr Lawrence Barit (a specialist on the influence of drugs, alcohol and illness on a driver's ability and road safety research); Dave Johnston (driver training instructor); July Msiza (deputy president of the South African National Taxi Council); Collins Letsoalo (acting CEO for the Road Traffic Management Corporation); and Andy Visser (PR and communications manager of N3 Toll Concession and a steering committee member of Women in Road Safety); and Rev. Themba Vundla (chief director for Road Safety for the National Department of Transport).
How to take the I-Pledge
- Visit www.ipledge.co.za and make your commitment to be safer and friendlier on our roads.
- Keep updated and help advocate for safer, friendlier roads by following @IPledgeZA on Twitter and the I-Pledge group on Facebook.