35 deaths recorded in truck-related crashes

03 Mar 2014 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 03 MAR (NAMPA) - A total of 721 crashes were recorded on the national road network between December 2013 and February 2014, with 84 of these cases involving heavy trucks.
Of the 163 fatalities recorded on Namibian roads during these past three months, 35 of the people lost their lives in truck-related crashes.
The Minister of Works and Transport, Erkki Nghimtina told a media conference here on Monday that officials from his ministry and the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund have taken note of the worrying increase in truck-related crashes on roads in recent months.
He made specific reference to a tipper truck which claimed two lives when it overturned in the capital last Thursday.
Nghimtina said due to the increase in truck-related road accidents, the Ministry of Transport has decided to strictly enforce the public transportation laws, especially the regulations prohibiting employers from transporting their employees in trucks.
He expressed concern that although the law is already in place, employers have continued to ignore it.
“There have been numerous occasions where we called on employers to desist from transporting their workers in trucks and other vehicles that are not fitted with proper seating facilities and seat belts, but this call has largely been ignored by the employers,” he said.
Nghimtina said the attitude and actions displayed by some employers who insist on transporting their employees on the back of tipper trucks and other inappropriate vehicles is unacceptable, as it denotes that they have no regard or respect for human life and are much more concerned about their profits than the well-being of their employees.
He explained that tipper trucks are designed to carry building materials, sand and stones, but they are not meant to transport people.
“These trucks are thus not fitted with safety mechanisms such as proper seats and seat belts to protect the passengers in the event of a crash, and therefore there is a high likelihood for serious passenger injury and death,” he added.
The minister again called on employers to stop transporting their employees in the back of trucks, describing that practice as degrading, inhumane and a road safety hazard which should not be allowed in an independent Namibia.
Nghimtina also called on employees to speak out against ill treatment at the hands of their employers, especially when it comes to instances when they are being transported in such trucks and pick-ups.
“We will not allow this chaotic and anarchic situation to continue. This must stop. Employers have to make sure that they have decent vehicles for their workers,” he stressed, noting that there is no reason at all for a company to transport its workers at the back of a truck while arrangements could be made with bus companies for that purpose.