New Era (Windhoek)

6 June 2014

Namibia: Drowsiness Main Cause for Road Accidents

Ojiwarongo — Police in Oshikoto and Otjozondjupa identified drowsy driving, cell phone use while driving, drink and driving, not wearing seatbelts and faulty cars as among the causes of road accidents.

Otjozondjupa regional deputy commander Gerhard Wataurua Mavenjono, Otjiwarongo Traffic Unit Commander Warrant Nafthalie !Abeb and Oshikoto police regional public relations officer Warrant-Officer Iseskar Arachab described the behaviour among some drowsy drivers along the B1 as inconsiderate.

"Spare the lives of others, falling asleep at the wheel endangers your life and the lives of countless road users. Sleep deprivation causes impaired coordination, judgement, memory and ability to retain information also resulting in longer reaction time all of which can result in motor accidents," said Mavenjono. He said this in the wake of a recent accident involving a white Polo Vivo carrying two siblings where one was flung out of the rolling vehicle and the other lost his life instantaneously because he was not wearing a seat belt. "The time a person opts to drive over long or short distances and the activities he or she had embarked upon prior to departure are crucial. It is more than likely that motorists do not get enough sleep, covering at least 7 hours of sleep is vital in assisting quick response time, coordination and response time" explained Otjiwarongo Traffic Unit Commander Warrant Nafthalie !Abeb.

He noted men are more likely to drive when drowsy when compared to women. "As we all know due to certain factors such as unemployment many men have taken up transporting passengers across short and long distances in taxis. Competition and pressure imposed on these drivers to produce, not to mention trying to make a little extra on the side pushes motorists to sleep less and drive more," !Abeb said.

Sleeping behind the wheel or drowsy driving took pole position, followed by cell phones, alcohol, failure to wear seatbelts and finally faulty cars. Asked as to why he placed drowsy driving so high on the list of deadly behaviour of drivers to which he said, "The distance the car imposed into the gravel road, injuries sustained by deceased persons which mostly include broken legs and deep cuts. All these point to drowsiness or falling asleep behind the wheel." Sleeping behind the wheel was ranked number one mainly because drowsy drivers die and people take for granted the importance of adequate rest when it comes to driving aptitude. Second on the list was the use of cell phones, which distracts driving and is seen as one of the most dangerous conditions on public roads. Alcohol abuse was the third worst cause although it is not an everyday occurrence motorist overindulges especially after sports games or social events. Fourth was failure to wear seatbelts, motorists were described as nonchalant when driving in town.

Mechanical failure was the lowest ranking cause of fatalities on public roads according to law enforcement.

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