The high rate of road accidents in the world at large is highly worrisome. Many people lost their loved ones on road accidents while many others are injured or disabled. Based on the statistics given by WHO, nearly 1.3 million people die in road accidents each year and on average, 3,287 die daily. More so, 20 to 50 million people are injured or disabled due to road traffic accidents.
It is also important to note that road traffic accidents have no respect for anyone or class of people; in other words, rich and poor, young and old etc. are dying in road accidents nearly every day, around the world.
Furthermore, it is also known that road traffic accidents constitute the leading cause of death among the youths. For instance, almost 400,000 people under age 25 die in road accidents every year in the world and on average over 1,000 people die per day.
The major reason for the high rate of deaths on the road is simply because many road users around the world have not seen road safety as an individual key responsibility. This explains why good road safety culture is almost non-existent in many societies particularly in Africa.
The Purport of Road Safety
The regular road users include: pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and passengers in public transport. In a simple language, everybody is a road user. Hence, road safety can be described as the methods and measures put in place in order to prevent all road users from being killed or seriously injured.
Road safety is a great task especially in a society where most road users show lackadaisical attitude to road safety. This may also explain why road safety plan is crucial in road safety so as to ensure the safety of road users.
Road safety plan must cater for the safety of all road users such as:
- Bicycle safety
- Child safety
- Motorcycle safety
- Pedestrian safety
- School bus safety
- Use of seat belt
- Speed prevention etc.
Road Safety Plan
Nonetheless, the road safety plan is a means of achieving the road safety goals and objectives so as to improve the safety culture in the society. More so, before good road safety plans can be made, information or statistics on road traffic accidents and serious injuries and their causes must be fully considered for effective road safety plans.
A good road safety plan must address the key safety issues, needs and recommendations for effective road safety strategies and viable measures for reducing accidents.
Furthermore, a good road safety plan is expected to tackle the road safety problems through education, engineering, enforcement and emergency services.
Road Safety Culture
The word culture, as it were, may have different meanings but when it is used with road safety, it has to do with how the road users interpret and perceive road safety. In other words, it has to do with a collective program of road users’ minds for perceiving, interpreting, expressing and responding to the social facts or realities that are caused by road transport.
Good road safety culture can be referred to as acts and other manifestations of good human behavior toward making the road safer in the society. Having known the consequences and the high risks involved in poor safety behavior of some road users, the need to imbibe the good road safety culture among the road users cannot be taken for granted. Why? It is because a well-developed road safety culture will influence every road user and create positive changes among the road users.
In a good road safety culture, people speak up about any unsafe situations and unsafe behavior of any road users on public roads; they don’t keep silent when any road user violates road safety practices. Every road user in a society where a good road safety culture is in practice will constantly look for ways to improve road safety from his or her own end and take personal responsibility for making the road safe for all.
The Role of the Media in Developing the Road Safety Culture
One major role of any media house in any society is to facilitate effective communication. The media help to keep the general public informed on the latest news. However, the media include the television, radio, internet, newspapers and magazines.
The media are a good tool that can play a crucial role to create good road safety culture in the society. It is a good weapon to fight against poor safety attitude exhibited by road users by carrying out an uncompromising campaign against poor safety attitudes by road users that may lead to serious fatalities and injuries.
Truly speaking, road traffic accidents are major of the notable issues that haunt many nations in the world today, particularly African countries. However, to build up a good road safety culture that will reduce the high rate of accidents in our societies, the role of the media is very significant in this regard. It can change people’s poor behavior and attitudes towards road safety. In simple language, the media, as it were, have huge importance and influence toward making the road safer for all.
In addition, the social media alone can be used to reach a wider audience than any other form of media; in fact, millions of youths, in the world today, engaged in different social media virtually every day. Therefore, the social media are strong platforms where the road safety thinking patterns can be improved upon and where people’s cultural values can be effectively influenced in favor of road safety.