Road carnage in South Africa is a huge crisis, especially during the festive season where last year, the festive season road death toll was estimated at a shocking 1 612.
“If we consider these statistics, there is no doubt that corporate South Africa need to play their part in supporting government’s objectives by contributing towards safer roads in the country – focused on education and awareness programmes,” says Mohammed Akoojee, CEO at Imperial.
“While corporate South Africa has taken huge strides in joining forces to drive down unsafe road practices, we still have a long way to go. Through constant education and tapping into the areas of road safety that need the most focus – changing behaviours and enforcing legislation – we will see a real change.”
In response to this, Imperial Logistics (‘Imperial’), a leading international supply chain and logistics company, is running a festive season road safety campaign across major national routes this festive season - encouraging road users to simply ‘relax and get there’ and giving truck drivers access to road safety education and guidance over this key period.
“Government has made some big announcements over the past month around the possibility of changing some of the rules of the road to drive down road deaths – things such as the demerit system, changing legal speed limits and the like – and so, we too have to continue to support and further encourage safer road usage,” continues Akoojee.
With road trips resulting in a lot of time in the road, now is the best time to target consumers and ensure they slow down, take their time and abide by the rules of the road. On the business side, while many industrial sectors slow down, the likes of retail and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) are often in their peak season and so, educating and providing guidelines as to best road usage over this time is critical.
Says Akoojee: “It is encouraging to see government efforts to drive road safety awareness ahead of the festive season, and this is why Imperial is setting up free access ‘chill zones’ to cater for holiday makers and long distant drivers to take a break and indulge in fun activities while engaging on road safety tips.”
Spending a lot of time on the road can be daunting, especially for those under delivery pressure, traveling with kids, or just excited to make it to their destination. However, statistics call for road users to approach roads, especially at this time of the year with extra caution.
“Driving requires full concentration, which can be tiring especially for long distances. Therefore, taking a break should be a compulsory part of long-distance driving. While refuelling your car, take the time to ‘chillax’ stretch, rehydrate, eat, and restore yourself for the journey ahead,” adds Akoojee.
To ensure maximum impact, six peak traffic days have been identified, two in December and two in January, where both the departure to holiday destinations and the return therefrom have been covered. These dates are; Friday 6th December 2019, Saturday 7th December 2019, Friday 13th December 2019, Saturday 14th January 2019. The Imperial campaign runs across three national routes that cater or long-distance trips, namely; N3 from Gauteng to Durban Escourt (Shell Ultra City), N1 from Gauteng to Cape Town (Shell Ultra City Kroonstad) and the N1 from Gauteng to Polokwane (Sasol Zebetiela).
“The public are welcome to visit these service stations and spend time with our friendly road safety savvy penguin mascot, Chillax. Where many people lose their loved ones during this time, as a country we can combat this by being more vigilant, compliant to rules of the road and taking the time to relax and so this really is our core message this season,” emphasises Akoojee. adds Akoojee.
“2019 has been a long year and many people have worked hard to get here. There is also a lot to look forward to in 2020, but we have to get there first, together! A 30-minute break can make a big difference and ignoring that text can save your life. ‘Chillax’ and enjoy the festivities with your loved ones!!!” he concludes.