Nekundi: Reckless drivers should lose licences

Home National Nekundi: Reckless drivers should lose licences
Nekundi: Reckless drivers should lose licences

Although the country recorded a slight decrease in road accident fatalities, compared to last year, for the 303 days from January to the end of October this year, 393 people died on Namibia’s roads. 

For the same period last year, 438 people died on Namibian roads. 

The country spends on average over N$140 million on medical costs associated with injuries from road accidents.

Deputy minister of transport Veikko Nekundi proposed urgent action against reckless drivers to save lives.

The statistics, according to Nekundi, further indicate that 4 529 persons were injured in the same period which shows a 3% decrease from 4 612 last year.

Nekundi was speaking at the 2022/23 festive season road safety campaign launch at the Okapuka roadblock, in Windhoek yesterday.

The deputy minister suggested that those who refused to obey the traffic laws and regulations on the road should have their licences revoked for a longer period to prevent them from killing innocent people who are committed to the road regulations.

“Some people are intentionally misbehaving on the roads. It is high time that every traffic lights have cameras. It is heartbreaking to see somebody driving through red traffic lights as if nothing is happening. If you hoot, they will show you a middle figure. These drivers must have their licences revoked even for 10 years,” he proposed.

He also said the country cannot afford to employ more traffic officers but road users should instead behave properly.

“Drivers licences are not issued to babies. All drivers are adults. They need to obey the traffic laws so we reduce road fatalities by 50%. For us to attain the target of a 50% reduction in fatalities and serious injuries by 2030, we have to improve our performance each year, anticipating saving more lives each operation across the festive season,” he said.

He also concerningly indicated that for the past two years, the months of July, August, October and December consistently had the highest number of recorded crashes respectively.

“These statistics show a grim picture of the crash trend on our national roads, especially on the B1 and B2 highways. Our economically active youth between the ages of 16 to 35 years are the most prone to these road crashes, making this an even more important public health issue. Our productive youthful members of society succumb daily to the carnage of our roads,” he explained.

The statistics show 60% of all fatalities are male.

Speaking at the same event, CEO of the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund of Namibia (MVA) Rosalia Martins-Hausiku said the fund spends a lot of money on medical expenses due to human behaviour that made up 70% of road crashes.

She said from January to October this year, the fund paid N$160 million on medical costs associated with injuries covering emergency response, in-hospital treatment, rehabilitation and, life enhancement. 

“The past three years’ average medical costs associated with injuries averaged N$141 million during the same period. Speeding, drunk/drug driving, using a mobile phone while driving/crossing the road, failing to wear a seatbelt, and driving without a driver’s licence,” she said. 

The MVA Fund has undertaken various measures to mitigate the loss of life. 

“The fund has started to roll out its Green Dot Programme which deals with public transport passenger safety in the six high crash regions and will provide defensive driver training to 30 public transport drivers in the Zambezi region this week,” she said.

The chief of police, Joseph Shikongo, who also spoke on the same occasion warned road users that traffic officers will be strict during the festive season.

“The officers will be more strict on speed cameras, random breath testing, vehicle roadworthy checks and many other related measures to curb the loss of lives on national roads,” he said.