Discovery in partnership with Childsafe launched the Safe Travel to School programme, which is aimed at making travel to and from school safer for all South African children every day.
According to Anton Ossip, Discovery Insure CEO, the Safe Travel to School programme has the ability to make a significant difference to the lives of many South African children. “Discovery ventured into this project because we believe that children are the most vulnerable in society. This was an area where believe we can make a significant difference. The inherent belief is that if we can make people aware of the risks that are inherent in how they drive and incentivise them to improve; we can make a significant difference to themselves, to society and ultimately keep people safer on the road.”
The Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters acknowledges the carnage on our roads, which claims up to 40 lives every day, and touched on the drastic impact of road crashes globally, which according to the World Health Organization, costs 1.3 million lives, and if not stopped, will claim 1.9 million lives by 2020.
“As road users, we have a collective responsibility to work together to improve road safety in our country and protect our children from unnecessary injuries and deaths as they are the future participating members of our society,” says Peters. “We recognise that the Safe Travel to School programme will play an important role in helping to reduce the number of road-related crashes and deaths, and promote a culture of discipline, responsibility and accountability, which we sorely need,” she added.
Safe Travel to School programme is targeted at scholar transporters, who transport children to and from school every day, and aimed at helping government to reduce the high road crash rate in our country that often involves children of school-going age.
“I am thrilled at the potential of the programme to impact positively on people’s lives especially that of young children. Safe Travel to School will help drivers who transport children to and from school on a daily basis to become better drivers who are more aware of road safety issues, and teach other drivers to do the same,” said Professor Sebastian van As, Childsafe and Chairperson for the Global Road Safety Partnership South Africa.
According to Van As, “The Safe Travel to School programme will play a critical role in increasing road safety awareness levels, and serve as a call to action to our communities to encourage all road users to be more aware and comply with road rules.”
Scholar transporters who participate in the programme will, with the help of Discovery Insure’s proprietary Vitalitydrive DQ Track System,
• Increase their road safety awareness,
• Improve their driving behaviour, and
• Safely bring home school-going children entrusted to their care without mishap each and every day.
The DQ Track System, which will be installed in vehicles that meet the required criteria, will enable Discovery Insure to measure how well the scholar transporters drive, encourage them to improve their driving behaviour through an innovative reward programme and find out how well they understand and abide by road safety rules.
The Safe Travel to School programme, which will be rolled out in 12-month stints over a period of five years, will commence with a pilot programme in the Western Cape.
South Africa has one of the world’s highest road crash rates, and our roads, especially for children of school-going age, are one of the deadliest to travel on. Urgent solutions to curb our country’s high road crash rate and number of road-related deaths and injuries are needed to ensure the safety of our children and our country’s economic future.
Peters believes: “while government is committed to fighting the scourge of road crashes, and improving road safety, government cannot achieve this alone and needs the engagement and collaboration of partnerships with the private, public and civic sectors in order to find sustainable solutions to addressing this unique challenge.”