According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road traffic accidents, making it one of the leading causes of death globally. To address this global concern, Road Safety Week gets underway between 15 – 19 May and the South African Breweries (SAB) takes the opportunity to raise awareness of this global initiative and champion responsibility on the nation’s roads.
The 2023 theme by the United Nations (UN) is #RethinkMobility, and fits into the global plan for the decade of action for road safety (2021-2030). The theme reflects an ambitious target to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50% by 2030. It further highlights that lives can be saved by addressing the entire transport system, taking action to ensure safe roads, vehicles, and behaviours, as well as to improve emergency care.
Zoleka Lisa VP Corporate Affairs, “SAB stands behind the UN initiative to improve safety and we reaffirm our commitment to play our part. As nations around the world commemorate Road Safety Week, our focus is spreading the message of the importance of responsible consumption. We see it as our role to use our scale, reach and expertise to accelerate responsible consumption through our SAB Sharp programme.”
One of the pillars of the SAB Sharp programme, is Drive Sharp, which empowers South African authorities to enforce interventions to deter drink driving. The programme focuses on reducing alcohol-related vehicle accidents through various initiatives, including partnering with local authorities to enforce regulations and discourage drink driving.
“We believe that no matter the reason, or how near or far the destination, it’s always better to have “none for the road” and this starts from within SAB. With a significant fleet, a workforce of over 5 000, and people from communities all over South Africa on the road, road safety continues to be a top priority for SAB. We conduct random alcohol testing throughout our offices and plants to ensure our people remain ‘Sharp’ at work,” explains Lisa.
When it comes to empowering our authorities to enforce interventions to deter drink driving, SAB provides infrastructure, equipment, and additional knowledge to carry out their duties in the most effective manner. To date 10 Alcohol Evidence Centres (AEC) have been established around the country. These are equipped with state-of-the-art testing gear to test blood alcohol levels and accelerate the prosecution of offenders.
SAB’s goals for 2025 include a reduction in alcohol-related road incidents in hotspot areas; a commitment to helping the authorities to enforce regulations to deter drink driving through AECs. To do so SAB is providing world class infrastructure and technology to process drink driving arrests and enable faster testing turnaround times. Through these measures, SAB aims to achieve a 30% prosecution rate for drink driving through its AECs.
Importantly, SAB’s investment includes training law enforcement officers and providing a Management Practices for Safer Roads Toolkit. The toolkit outlines best practices for data collection, identifies key risk factors, offers correct measures, and includes impact measurement strategies. These are provide through a partnership with United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and have been successful around the world as best practice to curb road fatalities. “And it doesn’t end on our roads - South Africa was joined by the Botswana Law Enforcement agency as part of our extensive training with UNITAR,” explained Lisa.
Lisa concludes, “Road safety is a critical issue worldwide that requires the participation and cooperation of individuals, communities, governments, and organisations at all levels. At SAB, we believe that through all our collective efforts, programmes, and initiatives, we can foster a culture of responsible drinking among drivers in our communities, creating safer roads for everyone.”