Namibia recorded an average of 250 road crashes per month in 2020
In 2020, an average of 250 crashes were recorded per month in Namibia, mostly during the months with public holidays, namely March, April, May, June, July, August and December, each with 8% or more of the total number of crashes.
This is according to the 2020 Crash and Claims report published by the MVA Fund this week. Attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic-imposed lockdowns where traffic volumes were reduced, April and May accounted for the lowest number of crashes with 3% and 6% respectively during 2020, as compared to previous years.
The five regions with the highest number of crashes remained the same for both years. As indicated, in 2020, the Khomas region experienced the highest proportion of crashes, accounting for 35% of all recorded fatal crashes in Namibia. In addition, Oshana (10%), Erongo (10%), Otjozondjupa (9%) and Oshikoto (8%) were among the top five regions in terms of number of crashes.
From the data, it can be observed that the majority of the road crashes occurred in the regions with the largest towns in Namibia.
As per the Roads Authority, these regions have the largest number of registered vehicles, with most of these vehicles registered to owners residing in the following towns: Windhoek (Khomas region;
167,088 vehicles or 41%), Oshakati (Oshana region; 35,638 vehicles or 9%), Walvis Bay (Erongo region; 24,542 vehicles or 6%) and Swakopmund (Erongo region; 22,453 vehicles or 6%).
On a population basis, there were 216 road casualties per 100,000 persons in Namibia, with the Khomas region having the highest absolute number, while Otjozondjupa had the highest number based on a population-adjusted rate.
Further, the casualty rate in the Otjozondjupa region is twice the national average, followed by Khomas with 1.4 times the national average. It is further noted that the region with the smallest population, namely Omaheke (76,736), had a casualty rate of 255 casualties per 100,000 persons, while the Hardap region, with the third smallest population (93,477), had a casualty rate of more than the national average.
Highlighting the types of crashes, the report indicates that during 2020, collisions were prevalent, representing 31%, followed by pedestrian crashes (25%) and roll-over crashes (25%).
MVA’s crash investigations highlight the role of speed as an area of concern, as well as inadequate following distances, inappropriate overtaking, non-compliance with traffic light signals and driving while under the influence of alcohol as among the main contributory factors to crashes.
On the other hand, crashes involving pedestrians were seen to occur due to a lack of adherence to road traffic regulations by pedestrians, as well as speeding on the part of drivers. In addition, high levels of alcohol consumption and abuse as well as failure to use designated pedestrian crossings were contributed to pedestrian-related crashes. Casualties resulting from animal-related crashes and crashes involving cyclists were also evident in the crash data.
During the year under review, 4,074 vehicles were involved in crashes in Namibia. This represents 16% fewer vehicles compared to 2019. The majority of vehicles in crashes were sedans (49%) followed by bakkies (32%). The number of trucks involved in crashes increased slightly by 1% from 193 in 2019 to 195 in 2020.
The majority of vehicles was used for private purposes (72%), followed by public transportation (12%) and company or business transportation (10%).
Despite the very disconcerting statistics, a significant reduction in road crashes of 19% was recorded in 2020, compared to 2019. A slight decline of 3% reported in 2019 compared to 2018. Statistics further indicate that there was an average annual decrease in road crashes of 8% from 2016 to 2020.