Poor road engineering main cause of road accidents - MVA

05 Mar 2014 16:50pm
WINDHOEK, 05 MAR (NAMPA) – Poor road construction and engineering is the primary cause of most road accidents in Namibia and not bad driver attitude, the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund says.
The Head of the MVA Fund’s Accident Investigation Unit, Hileni Davids told a media briefing here on Wednesday that this was part of the conclusions reached through a fatal crash investigation conducted by the MVA in collaboration with the National Road Safety Council and the Namibian Police Force during the past festive season from 22 November 2013 until 15 January 2014.
“Namibia might have one of the best road infrastructure networks in Africa, but our roads are not safe. Road safety recognises that crashes, and their consequences, are multifactor events. In short, crashes have factors not causes. Blame the system and not the driver as the current safety system is inadequate,” she stated.
She said investigations into road accidents indicated that road traffic signs are minimal or non-existent (as observed in the Karas Region); lack of guardrails or danger chevrons (Karasburg/Grunau road); absence of warning signs such as sharp curve, gentle curve, speed limit ( Karasburg to Grunau, and Outapi); road surfaces are uneven and not skid resistant (Outapi in Omusati Region); no recovery zones (all accident sites visited); no safety zone (all sites visited); dangerous slopes and ditches alongside the road (all sites visited); dangerous road edges that can cause tyre damage (Karas Region, Outapi in Omusati Region and Kavango Region); and no visible middle white lanes (Outapi in Omusati Region and Kavango Region).
According to Davids, road markings are fading, and could not be seen at some of the accident scenes during the investigations.
She said some road surfaces are smooth and not skid resistant, while roadway platforms are uneven and speed limits not visible.
There were also no warning signs in some areas where animals were grazing.
However, human factors still do play a big part in road accidents.
Davids said there way cases of oncoming vehicles driving in the wrong lane; speeding; motorists following each other too closely; failure to adjust the speed in varying weather conditions; overtaking at inappropriate locations; failure to give direction indications in advance; overloading; not wearing seat belts; driving during the night and inattentive driving.
“We must understand that crashes will continue to occur in spite of the best techniques to prevent them. Humans should not be killed or seriously injured in a crash,” she added.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently ranked Namibia first in the world in terms of the number of road deaths per 100 000 citizens.
The UN body said even though Africa accounts for just two per cent of registered vehicles, the continent is responsible for about 16 per cent of annual global road deaths.
“Africa makes up 12 per cent of the world’s population. However, in Namibia, which has an excellent road infrastructure, the high rate of fatal road accidents is mostly blamed on bad-driver-attitude,” WHO said.