Take ownership, take responsibility

07 December 2017 | Accidents

Yolanda Nel

Christmas is just weeks away, the schools are closed and social calendars are filled to the brim with year-end functions and Christmas parties.

Countless road safety campaigns have seen the light the past few weeks, appealing to all road users to drive safely and adhere to the road laws.

It’s been a long year and everyone justs want to let their hair down. But with the number of car accidents in the country, one can’t be too safe.

Close to 700 deaths have been recorded on the roads in 2017, with more than 6 000 people injured in car accidents.

The Namibian Police Head of Traffic Law Enforcement, Amalia Gawanas, recently said that road users need to take ownership and responsibility and be part of road safety. “The police are not here to continuously guard people who are killing each other on the roads,” she said.

She noted that Namibia’s road are in better condition than other African countries, and we therefore have no excuse for road accidents. Media reports this year stated that most crashes and deaths were due to human error, with speeding the biggest culprit.

According to Horst Heimstadt, chairman of the Self-Regulating Alcohol Industry Forum (SAIF), “road safety starts with every single driver on the road who should make a commitment to follow the laws of the road.

Some of the issues the country currently faces are the bad road conditions and minimum law enforcement. but “if we commit to be vigilant and drive with precaution, half the battle is won”, he says.

Logistically, everyone should make sure that they know how to get to their destination safely, especially if you are going to enjoy a second glass of wine.

According to Logan Fransman, director of the Namibian German Centre for Logistics (NGCL), there are a number of choices to get home safely, from getting someone to pick you up or making use of a taxi service. “All is infinitely better than drinking and driving,” he said recently.

Logan would like to see the number of road deaths drastically reduced. “It is a very depressing statistic to know that Namibia leads the world in road fatalities,” he said. For him the key is, ‘Everything in moderation’.

Statistics indicate that with 48% of all motor vehicles distributed in the Khomas Region, it is no surprise that this region accounts for the most accidents, followed by the Erongo and the Otjozontjupa regions. About 24% of all road deaths include pedestrians, of which 14% are children.

The STAND campaign which was launched in August, continues to aim at screening 250 000 people for driving under the influence. More than 36 000 drivers have already been randomly screened during the campaign. A total of 288 arrests have been made.

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