opinionBy Donna Collins
Out With the Old and in With the New sums up the updated and newly-written 'Namibian Learner's & Driving Licence Manual', which was launched this week in Windhoek in an even greater effort to enhance road safety awareness and produce more responsible drivers on our roads.
The function was addressed by Felix Tjozongoro (Group MD NTMS - Namibian Traffic Management Solutions), a private-sector company created three years ago with the aim to assist the Government efforts in the Road Traffic and Transport Sector.
Their latest effort and third booklet of its kind to inform the driver trainees of what is expected when faced with NaTIS officials for driving testing, is a new and improved edition, which Tjozongoro claims will make sure that drivers are properly qualified before getting behind the wheel.
This manual provides all the vital information that is needed to become a knowledgeable and safe motor vehicle driver. It is useful for new and experienced drivers who may need a reintroduction to the Namibian traffic rules and regulations or are trying to understand the new traffic signs.
The colourful 140 page soft-cover A4 size booklet which has been endoresed by the Roads Authority, provides a comprehensive step-by-step guide for the learner wishing to pass his or her driving test. With each section providing precise information from the all-important road signs, road rules, controls and usage for operating a motor vehicle such as steering wheel, general duties relating to motorcycles and so on.
No one should be without this revised update.
In fact, the new edition has done away completely with out-dated licence testing aspects, rather focussing on what is important to our current situation in the country. A point in case was that more emphasis on the learner driver is to know how to give right of way to emergency vehicles and especially the Presidential motorcade, and how to behave in such an instance.
"Ignorance from the public and being caught off guard in the company of the Presidential motorcade has resulted in people trying to overtake a motorcade and being arrested, while those not pulling over were pushed aside by traffic and police vehicles," said Tozongoro. "The new law changes provide the learner with information on giving right of way to emergency vehicles and especially the speeding Presidential motorcade."
The new booklet was launched by the Ministry of Works and Transport last December to NaTIS, who has been encouraged to introduce the written learners licence test system called the DTM, with plans to implement this system around July this year.
Meanwhile, Eliphas Owos-Oab (Lecturer Criminal Justice Polytech) who was present at the new driver testing manual introduction, pointed out that raising fines and penalties are not a solution to our road safety problem.
"We need to co-ordinate all our funding resources and strengthen our national road safety strategy with driver behaviour education," he said, emphasising that we have an excellent infrastructure in Namibia, but it is the drivers behind the wheel that are a problem.
"We need to have more road safety initiatives in Namibia, because the high fines and punitive systems are not effective," he emphasised, adding. "With our law enforcement activities on our roads being so predictable, we need to move towards putting surveillance systems into place.
"In my opinion we need to get back to the drawing board to redefine the strategies of road safety systems and its punishments for the law breakers which is not as effective as we would like it to be."