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Thu Jul 31 21:36:43 SAST 2014

Don't swell our ranks, plead disabled

SIPHO MASOMBUKA | 20 December, 2012 00:060 Comments
Road accident N1. File photo.
Image by: Netcare

IN AN attempt to shock motorists into buckling up this festive season an association of paraplegics and quadriplegics has coined a sobering yet humorous slogan: "Buckle up - we don't want new members" for its road safety campaign.

Every year an average of 350 people with spinal injuries caused by not wearing seatbelts swells the membership of the Quadpara Association of SA. Its CEO, Ari Seirlis, said failure to wear seatbelts was one the biggest contributors to road deaths in South Africa.

Serlis said he hoped the slogan would bring both a smile and a safety message to motorists.

"It is very difficult for us to understand the cause of crashes . but we can prove that if you are using your seatbelt the chances of a catastrophic injury [in a crash] are much reduced," he said.

As part of the safety campaign the association has deployed 45 people who have lost their mobility because they were not wearing seatbelts to have informal interactions with motorists at six filling stations on national roads.

The campaign was launched abouta week ago.

Spokesman for the Road Traffic Management Corporation Ashref Ismail said the corporation was fully behind the campaign

He said only 60% of motorists and their front-seat passengers buckled up. Only 2% of back-seat passengers wore seatbelts, Serlis added.

"We have to spread the buckle-up message, like we do with the message about wearing a condom to prevent HIV," Ismail said.

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