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Teach children from a young age about road safety, and they will be more responsible road users when they are older, is the theory behind the road agency’s campaign.
THE importance of observing road rules and obeying traffic signs is being taught to schoolchildren by the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA).


A youngster negotiates a turnA youngster negotiates a turnThe road safety education campaign intends to “inculcate” a culture of respecting road rules with the aim of reducing road carnage, according to the JRA spokesperson, Nkosana Lekotjolo.

“The objective of the JRA is to make children of Johannesburg aware of road safety issues from an early age and to influence their future behaviour as drivers of vehicles or pedestrians.”

He says they hope the message will influence behavioural change and alter mindsets, because road safety is paramount.

The ongoing campaign started in mid-May. Since its launch, the JRA’s road safety unit has introduced a ward-based road safety plan to help communities enforce road rules and safety.

And as part of boosting safety measures, the unit has built speed humps and guardrails near pedestrian crossings at schools, introduced scholar patrols and road signs and has asphalted pavements for pedestrians. Among the schools that have benefited are Qoqa Secondary, Tshepana Primary and Govan Mbeki Primary in Orange Farm.

Lekotjolo says the campaign was engineered to educate schoolchildren about all aspects of road safety. “These include the safe use of road infrastructure, the reduction of road accidents and ultimate eradication of vandalism to road infrastructure.”

The roads agency wants communities to take “ownership of road infrastructure”, he adds.

During the campaign, schoolchildren are encouraged to ask questions and participate in discussions about road safety. “The objective is to make them ‘road safety ambassadors’ and to spread positive messages about responsible behaviour on the roads to the wider community,” Lekotjolo explains.

“You have to start inculcating a culture of respecting road rules and knowing the road signs, so that they can be safe. If children know road rules they can interpret them in their own way in their minds and would be good citizens of the city when they are adults.”

The campaign will be extended to other schools “to teach young ones how to stay safe on the road”.

According to a report by the Department of Transport, over 13 000 people die on South African roads each year, a third of whom are pedestrians. It says road accidents set back the economy an estimated R581-billion between 1996 and 2006.

“A lot of pedestrians die on the roads. We need to teach the kids while they are young about road safety; it’s a basic thing,” Lekotjolo points out.

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