Local aims to prevent road deaths

2018-07-10 06:00
Danny Cat, the well loved road safety mascot, with learners.

Danny Cat, the well loved road safety mascot, with learners.

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With the June school holidays nearly something of the past, the roads will be congested as everyone is returning home from their holidays.

To ensure that everyone arrives safely People’s Post spoke to Alida Jones-Venter, founder of Drive More Safely, a non-profit organisation (NPO) in Fish Hoek, regarding what motorists should do to prevent fatalities on our roads.

“The NPO was founded by myself after the death of my eldest son in a head-on collision with a drunken driver. The devastation on the family is indescribable and tore my family apart,” she says.

The NPO originally started in Fish Hoek and then moved to Montagu due to lack of funding.

“I was forced to get back into the job market and went back to teaching. We are relocating back to Fish Hoek at the end of August. Although we are currently in Montagu we service the whole of the Western Cape when our services are requested,” Jones-Venter says.

Drive More Safely runs three programmes, namely “Take a Break”, a defensive driving course for truck drivers, and “Danny Cat Club”.

The “Take a Break” programme is a campaign that addresses driver fatigue during the festive season with long distances being travelled by road users and the high fatality rate. “We set up camp on the N1 or N2 where we are for three weeks together with the provincial traffic department, emergency services and the police. We monitor blood pressure and sugar levels, offer free tea and coffee, and vehicles are given a goodie bag with some important road safety tips and a few extras. Children can have a few sweets for the road and we also hand out some child restraints when there is not one in a vehicle,” she says.

The NPO offers a comprehensive driving course for trucks, which includes the SA road scenario, defensive driving, vehicle fitness, hazard perception and basic first aid. The course runs over five days at a cost of R1500 per person and includes materials, a certificate and a certificate ceremony with media coverage.

“Kids between the ages of three and 12 years can join the Danny Cat Club, which is a road safety club where we educate and equip our children to become safe and responsible road users. After joining and training they become road safety ambassadors in their schools. Danny Cat is a well-loved road safety mascot.

“Each member receives a membership certificate, a kidz medic, a reflective clip for their schoolbag, a Danny Cat T-shirt, a signed photo, a shout-out on their birthday and a special surprise when Danny visits their school. Schools can email us to visit the school and do a pedestrian safety programme with the children. We also assist with scholar patrol. The cost is R250 per child per year,” Jones-Venter says.

Community work is also high on the NPO’s list.

“We love working in the community and will often go out and paint road markings that have faded. We join the provincial traffic department on road blocks on special days where we will hand out some gifts that fit the day. Coming up is the Women’s Day road block in Swellendam where all women will receive a little gift at the road block.

“Our current big project is to start with the rural schools where children have to walk long distances in the dark to school, risking becoming a pedestrian fatality due to not being seen. Each child will be handed a reflective raincoat, a reflective clip and a kidz medic. This to the cost of R150 per child. Anyone who would like to sponsor a child or two can contact us,” she says.

Drive More Safely will also be doing a drive for non-perishable foods to assist families during the festive season who have lost loved ones due to a road crash. All donations are most welcome and drop-off points will be communicated.

V Email Alida at info@drivemoresafely.co.za or alida@­drivemoresafely.co.za.


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