Reducing the scourge of road fatalities during the festive season is crucial

Martin Endjala

Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) Chief Executive Officer Rosalia Martins-Hausiku, has reaffirmed the fund and its stakeholders’ commitment to ensuring that road crashes are reduced to zero during the upcoming festive season.

“The importance of Festive Season Road Safety Campaign as a tool to minimise road casualties cannot be over-emphasised.

In recognition of the government’s effort and commitment to fight the scourge on our roads, we pledge our commitment”.

Martins-Hausiku said this during the launch of the 2023 Festive Season Road Safety Campaign on Friday at Swakopmund in the Erongo region under the theme “Do the Right Thing”.

The campaign will run from 17 November 2023 to 23 January 2024.

In support of the campaign, MVA Fund pledged N$600 000 towards the campaign, and the Fund further supported the Joint Trans Kalahari traffic law enforcement operation with N$30,000 towards the operation.

She noted that the festive season is a time for festivities and celebration but it is characterised by the high number of deaths and injuries on the roads.

“It is for this reason the Fund values smart partnerships and stakeholder collaboration in approaching the challenge of road safety in the country. We have realised that together we can do so much more and achieve greater outcomes”, said the CEO.

She highlighted that during last year’s festive season, they observed a decline in the number of road traffic crashes which was due to the collaboration of different stakeholders.

In 2021 the Fund conducted research on the causes of crashes in six regions and found that 72 percent of crashes are caused by Human behaviour, and the regions are Khomas, Erongo, Otjozondjupa, Kavango West, Oshana and Oshikoto.

Speeding, overloading, fatigue, use of mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving, and overtaking at blind spots 25 percent related to road and environment and three percent to vehicles.

She is thus calling for a need to change drivers’ behaviour for improved road safety, while The Fund has started to roll out its Green Dot Programme with a focus on vehicle safety education, driver education and passenger safety.

On an annual basis, the Fund spends an average of N$ 200 million on medical costs and another N$80 million on other direct claims.

The medical costs associated with these road crashes and the subsequent death and injuries range from at-scene attendance to recovery or death and include first-aid and rescue service (ambulance services), hospital costs and the final stage of rehabilitation care and life enhancement.

In response to Pillar 5 of the Decade of Action for Road Safety, the Fund will ensure increased emergency response capacity on B1, and B2 routes. With Paramedics stationed at Arandis, Farm Wilhelmsdal, and Farm Sukses.

The Fund has also revealed that it has permanent emergency response centres at Arandis, Omuthiya, Divundu, Otjiwarongo and the MVA Fund Service Centre in Otavi along the B1 and B2 routes.

With support from the Ministry of Defence who will provide emergency care technicians and ambulances, these facilities will be activated during the festive season. The Fund will also be stationed at roadblocks such as Okapuka, Otjiwarnogo, Swakopmund and Outapi.

Minister of Works and Transport John Mutorwa, who launched the campaign said it serves as a reminder for road users to adhere to road regulations, emphasising that is every Namibian’s obligation to play their part.

In so doing they do not only save their own lives but many lives by being ambassadors on the road during travelling.

Meanwhile, Namibian Police Force’s Inspector General, Lieutenant General Joseph Shikongo has urged traffic law enforcement officials who are tasked to execute their duties to be vigilant and without fear or favour.

He called on all stakeholders to work together to make travelling efficient and secure with a focus on the prevention of drunken driving and reckless driving as well as the roadworthiness of vehicles.

“We as stakeholders should encourage road users to take safety into account when making decisions about transport models, vehicles and travel routes this festive season,” urged Shikongo.

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