Speed management and enforcement
highlighted at IRF "Vision Zero
for Africa” conference


Cutting speed achieves immediate and lasting reductions in road traffic crashes, and underpins the success of the second UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.

This was one of the key messages that emerged from the “Vision Zero for Africa” virtual road safety conference yesterday, organised by the International Road Federation (IRF Global) in partnership with Road Safety Support.

The three-day online conference attracted over 400 attendees from agencies and stakeholders all over Africa who are committed to reducing death and injury on roads and improving the health of their communities.

It comes in the wake of ambitious targets set by Ministers from over 100 countries in Stockholm earlier this year and reaffirmed on August 31, 2020 by a UN General Assembly Resolution.

This resolution calls on countries to: “Ensure the safety and protection of all road users through safer road infrastructure by taking into account the needs of motorized and non-motorized transport, especially on the highest-risk roads, through a combination of proper planning and safety assessment, including through identification of crash-prone areas, design, building and maintenance of roads, signal systems and other infrastructure.”

Key to the successful implementation of these commitments is the acknowledgement that no level of death or serious injury is acceptable. ‘Vision Zero’ principles, which take human fallibility and vulnerability into account, must, therefore, guide the design and management of road networks.

IRF has long advocated for the widespread use of a blended mix of speed management and enforcement systems. In recent years, new technology options have become widely available and more affordable, allowing countries that have not previously used automated speed enforcement to perform a “technology leap” and benefit from decades of accumulated R&D and deployment experience.

But successful enforcement practices need to be grounded on a bedrock of sound legal frameworks, effective prosecution mechanisms and multi-stakeholder coordination processes.

Brendan Halleman, Vice President, Europe & Central Asia at the IRF stated: “African countries stand at a crossroads. Their commitments to reducing traffic fatalities is not in doubt, but it must be backed by realistic action plans that factor complex traffic mixes and limited financial resources.

"During the conference, we addressed cost-effective measures to diagnose road injury risk without waiting for crashes, and to make roads more forgiving when crashes do happen. Setting credible speed limits and rigorously enforcing them is an essential part of this process.”

Meredydd Hughes, Executive Chairman of Road Safety Support, was invited to present and chair a session focusing on ‘Achieving Safe Speeds: From Campaigns to Enforcement’. He said, “ In Africa, as elsewhere, Communications / Education / Campaigns and Enforcement go hand-in-hand. They are vital components of any enforcement strategy and essential to its success.

"We know that it can increase the public’s awareness of specific enforcement programmes and increase the general deterrence effect, ultimately ensuring compliance with the speed limits, and making the roads safer for all.

"Effective automated enforcement – tailored to relevant African models - has to be the way forward, as nations rise and economies strengthen." 

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