Prevent festive season road carnage
Atleast 336 people countrywide are reported to have lost their lives as a result of road accidents during the festive seasons from 2009 to the end of last year.
This was revealed by Lieutenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga of the Namibian Police Force during the launch of the Festive Season Road Safety Campaign last week. According to Ndeitunga, 1713 road accidents were recorded during the previous holiday period.
“We have been preaching road safety all the years but it seems that our cries are falling on deaf ears. Some motorists are still continuing to drive like Michael Schumacher, as if they were told that their destinations are running away,” said Ndeitunga.
He added that many of these accidents could have been avoided if drivers had adhered to the road rules and regulations. “Many of the accidents were caused by speeding; drunken driving and overtaking at dangerous blind spots to mention but a few,” he said.
It is during the December and January holidays that Namibia receives a high number of visitors. The majority of these visitors are from South Africa and travel by road. To ensure their safety during the festive season, the Namibian Police Force will set up temporary mobile roadblocks on national roads so that all unroadworthy vehicles, usually belonging to Namibians, can be taken off the road.
Police officers manning the check points will also be on the look-out for illicit and contraband goods. These will be confiscated on the spot.
According to Ndeitunga, driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance will not be tolerated and drivers will be apprehended and face the full wrath of the law.
“We want our visitors to enjoy their stay here in the land of the brave without a single vehicular incident, so that when they go back to their countries, they will encourage others to visit our beautiful country,” Ndeitunga noted.
He said despite road safety campaigns, many lives are still lost due to negligence of drivers adding that policing operations will be stepped up and there will be higher visibility of police officers in uniform.
He urged motorists to drive within the prescribed speed limits.”Some drivers may argue that their cars’ speedometer is marded up to 220 km/h or more. Yes, but the speed limit in Namibia is 120 km/h on the national roads and 60 km/h within the cities and that is the law and nobody is above the law,” he warned.
Ndeitunga further advised motorists not to drive long distances during the night as statistics have shown that most road accidents occur during the night as visibility is reduced.”Make sure to stop your vehicle safely off the road every two to three hours to freshen up, so that you can reduce the chance of falling asleep. If you feel drowsy, rather sleep it off for an hour or two, or change drivers,” Ndeitunga advised.
It is estimated that 1.2 million people die from road accidents worldwide every year and an estimated 500 people loose their lives every year in Namibia. Statistics by the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund reveal that many of these are caused by speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol as well as reckless driving.
Thetheme for the 2013/2014 Festive Season Road Safety Campaign is “Mind the Consequences of Speed” and will target six regions namely Erongo, Okavango, Khomas, Oshana, Oshikoto and Otjozondjupa.