Legacy Road Safety Initiative

Black Spots limiting safety on our roads

While growing up, the common “black spots” I was familiar with were those natural “black spots” found in some different parts of our bodies. We were told that these spots represented the number of Aunties one has in a family and for whatever reason, we settled for it after all no one could explain a natural spot on a bicep, a chick or on a thigh. Looking back I realise that the society and its culture plays a big role in shaping our understanding of so many things in life, much more the things we get exposed to early in life is critical to our upbringing. But for so long the carnage on our roads have been increasing, and globally now we lose up to 1.35 million people to road traffic crashes yearly, making it the 8th leading cause of death for people of all ages and specifically the number one (1) cause of death for children and young adults 5-29 years of age. My quest for the cause of this rising statistics on traffic crashes led to a discovery of a term “Black Spots”, a term I was familiar with from a different perspective not knowing that for all this time, it is one of the leading causes of traffic crashes world over.

A black spot therefore is a location in a road where the traffic crashes often occur. An accident black spot is a term used in road safety management to denote a place where road traffic accidents have historically been concentrated. It may have occurred for a variety of reasons, such as a sharp drop or corner in a straight road, so oncoming traffic is concealed, a hidden junction on a fast road, poor or concealed warning signs at cross-roads among others. Many of our roads have these black spots, some of which are known to us and are marked, others are known to us and not marked and others are just not known yet. Therefore, it is important to identify black spots on both urban roads and highways in order to quickly and accurately ensure the safety of residents and maintain the sustainable development of the upcoming cities. In general, the identification of the location of black spots and clearly marking them out is the first and most important step in the accident mitigation process. You and I have the soul responsibility of not only looking out for signages/markings of these spots, and taking precautions around these spots but also telling others and speaking up about these spots, and together we shall make our roads safer.

Richard Young Owere

Executive Director – LRSI

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