29 January 2013 - According to the South African Road Traffic Management Corporation, the fatality rate on South African roads of approximately 28 people in every 100 000 is worryingly higher than the estimated world average of approximately 19 people in every 100 000.
Furthermore, the World Health Organisation has estimated that by 2030, road traffic injuries are likely to overtake HIV/AIDS as a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Significantly, over 90% of the world’s road traffic fatalities occur in low- and middle-income countries.
“The African continent therefore faces a considerable challenge in terms of road safety,” says Bernard van Biljon, a technical director in Aurecon's Transport, Planning and Economic Advisory (TPEA) team.
With this in mind, the TPEA team, which comprises specialists in transport planning, logistics, and infrastructure, hosted a five-day road safety course at Aurecon’s Tshwane office late last year.
This course is registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), allowing participants to obtain Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for attendance.
As such, it generated a huge amount of interest due to the fact that it serves as a first step towards registering as a road safety auditor locally, which is a pre-requisite for going on to obtain an international accreditation. Attendees came in from countries as far as Zambia.
The course content comprised the South African Road Safety Manual, as well as other learning material explaining international best practice in road safety assessments, audits and appraisals, as well as accident investigations.
The wide range of theoretical knowledge covered during the course was augmented with practical, on-site investigations, tutoring sessions and debate forums.
“In addition,” says Van Biljon, “The City of Tshwane expressed a commitment to developing a culture of road safety, and obligingly provided the course presenters with a list of a number of pilot sites where participants could undertake investigations and audits, in order to hone their skills under the supervision of Aurecon’s road safety specialists.”
“The purpose of the course was to create road safety ambassadors who would be catalysts for a road safety culture wherever they are,” adds Van Biljon. “As we prioritise a safety culture at Aurecon, we are really pleased at the success of this course and look forward to possibly hosting follow-up and repeat courses.”