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Road safety – a debatable point

Learners recently had an opportunity to air their views about the state of road safety in South Africa at the 2011 National Road Safety Schooling Debate Competition. Road safety is an issue that affects all learners as many of them have experienced their school peers, friends or family members being injured or killed in road accidents.

The competition was hosted by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) together with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, the national Department of Basic Education, Transnet, BP South Africa and the Road Accident Fund to raise awareness and change attitudes about road safety.

The Road Safety Debate is a national programme aimed at secondary school learners.

Objectives

The objectives of the competition is:

  • to empower learners with road safety knowledge by doing research on road safety topics
  • to enhance learners public speaking and analytical skills as they have to debate and respond to points of information
  • to encourage learners to work in teams and define their roles as a collective
  • to improve listening skills, especially in the rebuttal phase of the competition.
  • to create a sense of responsibility and develop leadership skills.
Decade of action

Teams from schools throughout the country debated on increased awareness of road safety risk factors and ways to prevent acci-dents. The topic for the finals was “South Africa will reduce road fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020 as per the Decade of Action on Road Safety”. The Decade of Action 2011-2020 campaign is an international road safety awareness campaign, supported by government throughout the world.

According to RTMC Acting CEO Collins Letsoalo, the death of school children and pedestrians on our roads is alarming. He said initiatives such as the debate would go a long way to meet the target of reducing accidents and ultimately making our roads safer.

“We request the youth to internalise sound road safety norms and values and we make an impassionate plea to them to embrace a culture of safe road usage.

“We also urge the youth as road users not to passively accept unacceptable and indeed criminal actions on our roads. The blatant disregard of the law should not be tolerated. Help us partake in our struggle to prevent road collisions. Make it your responsibility to be safe on our roads,” he added.

The first prize went to the Mafikeng High School in the North West.