Community Policing Officer
The City of Windhoek is constantly inundated with commuters traveling between destinations and through this a worrisome trend has emerged; Many drivers behind steering wheels are either unlicensed to drive or fail to carry their licences while operating a vehicle. This alarming violation of road safety regulations is becoming increasingly common within the city, posing a grave risk to all road users.
Among the most frequently contravened provisions within the Road Traffic and Transport Act 22 of 1999, this issue of not carrying a driver’s licence shows no signs of improvement. The Windhoek City Police regularly encounters individuals who are unable to produce their driver’s licences at checkpoints, raising suspicions that a significant number of these drivers may be entirely unlicensed.
This worrisome trend has far-reaching implications as unlicenced drivers jeopardise not only their own safety but also that of others on the road. The inherent risks associated with unlicensed drivers are multifaceted. First and foremost, they often lack the essential skills required for safe driving and may do not possess the knowledge needed to react effectively in emergency situations. Consequently, they are more likely to cause accidents than avoid them.
Moreover, unlicensed drivers are prone to committing traffic violations due to their unfamiliarity with certain road signs and a lack of knowledge about road rules and regulations. These violations can quickly escalate into hazardous situations and result in road crashes.
One other concerning trend on the rise in the city is the act of fleeing accident scenes. Unlicensed drivers may be more inclined to flee the scene of an accident to escape legal consequences thereby exacerbating the dangers posed by their presence on the road.
Of particular concern is the age of many of these unlicensed drivers. In many instances, they are underage and are not the legal owners of the vehicles they operate. This implies vehicle owners knowingly entrust these vehicles to unlicenced individuals, which is also a violation of the Road Traffic and Transport Act.
In response to this growing threat, law enforcement agencies are taking decisive action. There is a renewed focus on education and enforcement to address the issue of unlicenced drivers. This includes campaigns aimed at raising awareness about the importance of obtaining a driver’s licence, regular traffic stops to identify and penalise offenders, and stricter enforcement of penalties for driving without a valid licence.
Driving without a licence will attract a fine of N$1000 while failure to carry the licence will set you back N$500 and employing or permitting a person without a licence to operate a vehicle will result in a fine of N$750 to the vehicle owner.
Drivers also won’t be allowed to drive any further unless their licence is produced, or an alternative licensed driver is available. This means the vehicle in question will be impounded in terms of Section 107 if the driver is unable to identify themselves by means of an acceptable identification or in the absence of a replacement driver.
Furthermore, commendable efforts are being made by the licensing authority to provide accessible driver education and licensing opportunities.
These initiatives aim to ensure individuals have the means to acquire a valid driver’s licence and, in doing so, become safe and responsible drivers.
In the face of this pressing concern, these efforts are a step in the right direction to emphasise Windhoek’s collective commitment to road
* Contact the Windhoek City Police Service on 061 302 302 or 061 290 2239 for any emergencies and crime related issues.