The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited is mandated by the National Transport Policy (1997) to implement incident management programmes on the entire declared National Road Network of South Africa. It is for this reason or more incident management within Road Safety Management is key to our operational function.
In 2011, South Africa’s declared national road network stands well over 18 000km of which almost 2000 km is declared toll road network.
Transportation statistics have put traffic growth on our road network to about 6% per annum aggregate on some of our key routes including N3 and N1. Noteworthy is high volumes of heavy motor vehicles and commercial vehicles that conduct daily business of these key roads.
Over the years statistics has also highlighted accident rates which contribute to delays, bottlenecks and congestion in traffic flow. This is compounded by the time it takes to detect, activate response and access to scene of accidents by emergency and enforcement services personnel. Prudent and innovative measures need to be employed to deal with accidents swiftly and as efficiently as possible to keep our roads operating as optimally as possible, hence the Incident Management Programme deployment on our network.
Incident management worldwide continues to prove a viable tool to deal with incidents/accidents efficiently and professionally to maintain open roads and free traffic flow.
Through the five pillars of Incident Management the risk of an incident is minimised or managed accordingly to restore order onto a functioning road network.
The amendment of legislation, drafting of a national framework, policy and procedures manual is a welcomed intervention to embed the ethos and principles of co-operation and teamwork when dealing with incidents. This will not complete just the picture in the whole incident management deployment value chain but will also bring clarity on what is expected of those tasked with the responsibility of responding to accident scenes and saving lives.
It is now the time to incorporate other critical network to the national network, which influence the performance of the national network into the Incident Management Programme. Soon several provincial and municipal networks of primary role will be mandated to implement incident management in its operation. Therefore all four documents drawn up so far have a positive impact in improving the quality of service by our services personnel.
From here we can only do more to work and provide service that is better and smarter.
Legal – reference to acts
Road Incident Management Systems (RIMS) operational policy is aimed as a basis of ensuring uniformity throughout South Africa and give effect to Policies and Procedures for RIMS development. The aim of this process is to provide a coordinated, standardised guideline to be used throughout SA by all organisation that are involved in RIMS.
RIMS seeks to establish the best practices in responding and dealing with road incidents in an efficient and effective manner.