Real CCTV footage of motor crashes on Western Cape roads has been made available to the public by the provincial transport department in an effort to bring home to motorists the consequences of speed and reckless and drunken driving.
The Crash Witness Campaign, which was launched on Tuesday, can be accessed on the department’s Safely Home’s new web platform at http://safelyhome.westerncape.gov.za.
Addressing media in the ministry’s boardroom, Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said the decision to publish the footage was a “very difficult” one but that doing so would have a “profound effect” on viewers. “I believe that seeing the reality in these videos can get people to slow down, to not drink and drive, to buckle up, to leave their cellphones alone, and to watch out for pedestrians. By doing so, they will not only save lives, but will give meaning to the otherwise senseless deaths that occur so routinely on our roads,” he said.
Carlisle said prior to publicizing the footage, the next of kin of the victims of the crashes and the survivors were approached.
The footage, some of which contains graphic clips, will be released gradually over the festive season with new footage released on a weekly basis. Carlisle said public comment would be welcomed and encouraged, with viewers being able to email any comments or feedback to the department.
The Safely Home website will be launched in phases with the first phase being the introduction of the Crash Witness Campaign and the second phase will see the introduction of an accident reporting tool to which viewers can report any road accidents.
Provincial Transport Ministry Head, Hector Elliot, said the department was considering distributing pamphlets on the Crash Witness Campaign at roadblocks, for those who have no access to the internet. He said the site would also be made available on mobile phones and that they would also consider making the footage available to taxi drivers following a suggestion by a reporter. Taxis account for ten percent of road fatalities, while fifty percent of fatalities are caused by young middle class men of all races, who drive “fast and expensive” cars, said Carlisle. “This is the central problem. In most of these cases, they are speeding or drunk or both,” he said. — Fadela Slamdien