In a world where poverty, unemployment, disease and dwindling resources are on the top of the agenda at every summit, it is reassuring to know that attention is being paid to other often neglected issues that affect human beings on a daily basis, such as the issue of safety on the roads. A real commitment has been made by the World Health Organization towards reducing the fatalities and injuries people suffer resulting from motor vehicle accidents in what is considered a ground-breaking initiative.
The World Health Organization has recently presented the “Decade of Action for Road Safety” initiative. This initiative was started a few years ago in 2010 and has been developed over the years into a comprehensive and goal-orientated programme with the goal of reducing accident-related injuries, pain and suffering, loss and death. The ultimate ambition of the Decade of Action for Road Safety is to reduce the ever-increasing number of deaths as a result of road accidents. 182 countries are participating and it is estimated that 5 million lives will be saved as a result of the efforts made over this period. The target is to reduce deaths by 50% by 2020.
This becomes extremely relevant to South Africans when the report indicates that South Africa together with Nigeria, both of which are two of the least motorized countries in the world, have the highest road traffic death rates in the world. In other words, in two countries which have far fewer motor vehicles than most other countries, there are higher rates of accidents. South Africa ranks with countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and Ethiopia and accounts for more than 63% of accident-related deaths in Africa.
In South Africa, the majority of those killed in motor vehicle accidents are young bread-winners. This has a devastating effect on the family they leave behind as well as the ripple effect on the economy. The circle of poverty is perpetuated every time a bread winner is killed on our roads. The problem lies in the fact that the South African Government has limited appreciation for this negative effect on the economy. The Government is constantly seeking out methods to reduce their liability, for example, by proposing the new Road Accident Fund Benefits Scheme. They do not consider the families and dependents left behind who have to now survive with limited or no income. They do not consider how cutting down compensation paid out to those left behind, dramatically decreases their quality of life and paints a bleak picture of the future for these victims.
Michael de Broglio said about this, “It’s a tragedy that there is such an acceptance of the ever-increasing death toll that Government simply accepts it and reduces the compensation payable to people every few years with amendments to the Road Accident Fund. The proposed Road Accident Fund Benefits Scheme will provide no benefits for the high levies we already pay.”
We can only hope that over the next few years we see positive results from the Decade of Road Safety initiative in a decrease in the death toll as a result of accidents because it is clear that the victims left behind to suffer as a consequence of these horrific accidents, will be left to suffer in shadows by the Government who has been voted in to protect them.
It becomes obvious that in a system where the victim is already prejudiced, one should seek the expertise and professionalism of a law firm who can guide one through the process, fight for one’s rights and fight for the compensation one duly deserves. This is the mantra at de Broglio Inc, and if it’s not your fault, it shouldn’t be your problem.
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