Road Safety Campaign
In 1997, 35 500 pedestrians were hit by road vehicles in South Africa. 4000 of these people died and 10 000 were seriously injured. Nearly 205 of pedestrians killed in 1996 in South Africa were children under the age of 16.
There are a number of reasons for children’s particular vulnerability:
- Children are small and thus more difficult to see in traffic.
- Children in poorer and rural areas often have to walk long distances across busy highways or other roads at times of the day with poor visibility i.e. dawn and dusk. The situation worsens in the winter months.
- Children lack experience and aren’t always able to judge distances well, both from a visual and auditory perspective.
- There is a lack of playing facilities in many, particularly black areas, often forcing children to play in the street. They are not always able to concentrate on their game and watch out for traffic.
Soul Buddyz 1, the children’s series aimed at 8-12 year olds deals with issues of road safety in the television, radio and print materials. The material raises awareness of road safety and the importance of reflector material to increase child visibility.
Improving the visibility of children at times of high risk has been shown to reduce the number of child pedestrian casualties. This can easily be done through the use of reflector material on key parts of the child’s body. Reflector material, unlike light clothing which is often recommended, doesn’t expose the child to assault through being noticed at night, as it is only visible in the light of oncoming cars.
The Road Safety advocacy campaign is ongoing and has two main aims:
- To secure legislation making it compulsory for reflector material to be incorporated into school uniforms.
- To get scholar patrols into every primary school in the country.
Soul City IHDC embarked on this campaign in partnership with Drive Alive, a South African NGO dedicated to promoting road safety in South Africa. The campaign was developed to reinforce the road safety goals of the first series of Soul Buddyz and was accompanied by a social marketing component which aimed to raise awareness around the value of reflector material and to popularise its use. With the support of BP, one of Soul Buddyz’s major commercial sponsors, two million reflector bands were distributed to children across South Africa.