Workshops for scholar drivers

2018-05-10 06:01
The programme is in response to the many horrific road crashes that involvr school children.

The programme is in response to the many horrific road crashes that involvr school children.

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More than 9 000 children in the greater Cape Town area are transported to and from school safely every day, thanks to an innovative safe driver programme run by Childsafe SA.

The Safe Travel to School (STTS) Programme aims to develop road safety awareness, and confident scholar transport drivers, helping to make their journey safer for our children.

The programme, which was launched in 2015, is primarily funded by Discovery Health and Discovery Insure, and currently has more than 700 participating drivers.

Professor Sebastian van As, chairman of the Childsafe SA Board and head of the paediatric trauma unit at Red Cross Children’s Hospital said: “The programme is in response to the many horrific road crashes we see involving schoolchildren,” says

“Thousands of children are killed on our roads every year, and in most cases, it is because of driver error.”

“Often scholar transport drivers have a bad reputation”, he explains further.

“Some overload their vehicles and drive recklessly in vehicles that are often not roadworthy. Our programme aims to help change that,” he says. The results have been significant. In the four years since the programme was launched, there has not been one fatality or serious injury.

Also, research data indicate that drivers on the programme actually drive more safely than the average Cape Town driver.

The STTS programme focuses on changing driver behaviour: tracking devices are installed in each vehicle, and driver behaviour is monitored and analysed.

Drivers are scored on speeding, acceleration, braking and cornering; with regular feedback given to the drivers.

They are then encouraged to improve on their scores, in other words, drive more safely.

“We also have their eyes tested, and provide glasses if necessary, “explains programme manager Kay Jaffer, “we check their wellness indicators, offer information sessions on a range of issues – all completely free to the driver.

There are other incentives: every quarter we acknowledge the safest drivers with cash and other prizes, and at the end of the year the safest driver drives off in a brand-new vehicle.

We’ve already given away three mini buses worth R400 000 each.”

The annual programme where the minibus prize is handed over in a packed hall is an event filled with excited anticipation, positive energy and incredible emotions.

Winners are carried to the podium by their excited colleagues from various parts of the City.

The first winner was William Lottering of Manenberg, the second Linda Mpani from Nyanga, and the third Gamat Roopen from Mitchells Plain.

The positive impact of the programme has been impressive: “The data recorded by the trackers prove that the scholar transport drivers are driving more safely than they did at the start, and most impressively, the data shows they are driving more safely than the average Cape Town driver,” says Prof van As.

The Safe Travel to School Programme aims to have 1 000 participants by next year and is planning to expand to other provinces. For more information contact Childsafe SA at 021 685 5208.

Other partners supporting this exciting programme are C Track, Tiger Wheel and Tyre, Essilor, Specsavers, Mullers, and Dannebergs.

Two major projects at Childsafe focus on child pedestrian safety: Walk this Way is a project (funded by Fedex) which reaches out to primary school children who walk to school, their educators and their parents.

The project gets children to be alert and aware of the dangers they face as pedestrians.

The UNICEF-funded Child Pedestrian Safety Project has two main thrusts, research and advocacy.

The project aims to analyse the current situation on child pedestrian safety to enable precise and accurate data; and aims to father policy makers about their findings to work out ways to respond to the dire road safety context.

Childsafe SA is the only (and one of the oldest) organisations of its kind working in southern Africa to promote the health and safety children.

It aims to reduce the number of child death and injuries in traffic, the No.1 disease for children under 18 years old.

It has been doing this for four decades by means of: research, education and training, and recommendations for legislation to protect children.

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