We have featured some major African crashes in 2013 involving buses. It highlights the lack of provision of safe affordable transport for the poorer sections of society. Can the lot of these travellers be improved?
Many years ago, there was an Italian officer who was very concerned for the troops under him. He also realised that people in positions of responsibility, like him, could make things happen just by getting those around him to do their jobs. One day, one of his servants became sick and he turned to a man that he knew, who also possessed authority. He said to this man, you just say the word and my servant will get better.
You don’t even have to drop by the barracks to do this. Jesus did what he asked and was amazed because He had never seen faith like this soldier’s anywhere.
While agreeing that road safety is an issue, most politicians don’t use their authority to change the status quo. We have a suggestion for you the reader in Africa. Your politicians are there because you elected them. They owe their living to you and they should serve you. Lobby them to put aside their expensive government vehicles and once a week, or so, start using your poorly maintained transport. That may just encourage them to work for improvements. The same goes for your church leaders, get them to use the public transport and work to improve it.
“Haves” and “Have Nots”
We can throw money at road safety for decades to come and we will still see casualties rising as they are today and nothing will change. Why? Firstly it is a human behaviour problem and secondly, Road Safety is not a key issue for most politicians. It is for the ordinary man and woman. 300,000 lives have been lost on the roads of Africa in 2013 and I can give you a New Year promise. Unless you start to take action for yourselves, if you are here next year, we will be looking at even bigger numbers of casualties.
2013 Fatal attraction
Why don’t cars carry health warnings since they contribute to the annual cull of humanity resulting in an estimated 1,300,000 deaths and over 50,000,000 casualties? The message on smoking as a danger to life is widely publicised but road death remains off of the radar as a serious health issue. Why do Motor Manufacturers produce projectiles that vastly exceed the speed limit in most countries and maim and kill? Is this a responsible act? They know that if they do not produce performance then people will not buy them. It is supply and demand. They build potential killers and people love it to be so. Here are some reasons for changing attitudes. “Excessive and inappropriate speed is the biggest road safety problem in many countries. While identifying contributory factors in traffic crashes can be somewhat subjective, there are surveys and studies that suggest that as much as one-third of collisions resulting in a fatality involve an element of excess speed. Speed is an aggravating factor in all crashes.”
“The probability that a pedestrian will be killed if hit by a motor vehicle increases dramatically with speed. The research indicates that while most vulnerable (unprotected) road users (pedestrians) survive if hit by a car travelling 30 km/h, the majority are killed if hit by a car travelling at 50 km/h.” (CLICK for Source) This is the fatal attraction. One day, someone will sue a manufacturer for producing a killer. Until then drivers will be active victims and pedestrians passive victims (just like passive smokers). Go to the Decade of Action page to see what is being done internationally and ask what you can do to publicise the issue. We have provided some ideas for your community under the tab Community Action on the menu bar above.
2012 Another year of living dangerously
Its hardly a celebration as we move into our second year, with another 280,000 people killed on Africa’s roads and with no decline likely in the near future. The response to the call for involvement in road casualty reduction by the African churches has been dismal and suggests that road safety is not a major issue for them. Of course, there are a multitude of other problems besetting the continent but this is one that does not require huge sums of money to solve. Perhaps the church leaders are not encouraging personal responsibility for this health issue? Pursuing this theme has resulted in this new series of ministries aimed at encouraging individual Christians to take responsibility for their own lives and ministers to encourage them to do so. Download “Beggars or Kings”.
2011 Sermons on Safety
Click to download pdf version Sermon outlines v2.23 MSWord version Sermon outlines v2.23 Here are a series of sermon outlines focusing on the subject of Road Safety and dedicated to Africa. Why is road safety such an important issue? It will become the second leading cause of death and injury in the next decade if nothing is done. Road Safety does not always require expensive solutions. If we can change attitudes, then we can start to affect the numbers of casualties. Ministers of the Gospel are ideal road safety advocates, if not the very best. They have that special qualification, because, Ministers of the Gospel spend their lives changing people’s attitudes and behaviour. Here is another area where they can be very effective.
The population of Africa is estimated at 1,033,042,510 souls with the number of Christians estimated at 503,742,508 souls. Half of the population of Africa is nominally Christian! That is a huge and powerful human resource for change. Yet, 280,000 people are killed on Africa’s roads each year and up to 5,500,000 injured! This is a preventable disease. The cost is at least $25,000,000,000USD, money that could be better spent elsewhere.
Christians are suffering as a result of this carnage, yet they have the means for change in their own hands. If Pastors and Ministers add “Road Safety education” to their duty of care for the flock of God, the casualties can be reduced. (DALYs = Disability Adjusted Life Years The sum of years of potential life lost due to premature mortality and the years of productive life lost due to disability.)