The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: Road Death Toll Rises to 506

BY Tuesday, the number of road deaths in Namibia so far this year had climbed to 506.

There are still 26 days left of the year, but already the death toll exceeds the total figure for last year.

In 2011, 492 people were killed on the country’s roads, Catherine Shipushu, the spokesperson of the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVAF), said yesterday.

A total of 58 people died in road accidents during December last year.

Shipushu this week said it is likely that more lives will be lost in the next few weeks as the nation prepares for the festive season.

To try and curb the carnage on the roads, the MVAF and its road-safety partners launched the annual Xupifa Eemwenyo ‘Save Lives’ road safety campaign this week.

The campaign was first introduced in 2005. It implements specific targeted interventions aimed at preventing the loss of lives on national roads during and after the festive season, Shipushu said.

This year’s campaign will focus on supporting law enforcement to enable the police to effectively roll out interventions such as random alcohol and speeding checks, she said.

“Roadblocks will be set up and tight law enforcement operations will be deployed to ensure motorists comply with traffic rules. Common road offences such as overloading, speeding, drinking and driving and unroadworthy vehicles will be closely monitored and offenders will pay the price for their unruly road behaviour.”

According to her, the campaign will also focus on educating drivers about the dangers associated with reckless and negligent driving.

“That way, the nation gets to understand the very real dangers that exist on our roads. As part of public education and awareness creation, educational material on road safety will be made available to road users during the campaign period.”

She said during the 2011/ 2012 festive season, 938 people were injured in road crashes. As a result of this, some still battle with life-threatening injuries and permanent disability.

Because of this, the MVAF tries to ensure that injured people receive medical assistance within the ‘golden hour’ following a crash, she said. “This will ensure that they have a higher chance of survival.”

The MVAF urges motorists not to take unnecessary risks such as overtaking more than one vehicle at a time. Also, drivers must make sure that all passengers wear their seat belts.

Furthermore, those who drive long distances must take safety breaks every two hours in order to avoid driver fatigue.

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