Pedestrians most at risk in road accidents

24 Oct 2015 11:20am
WINDHOEK, 24 OCT (NAMPA) – Pedestrians in Namibia are most at risk during motor vehicle accidents as there are no policies in place to promote walking or cycling.
The latest global status report on road safety, which was issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday, raised the concern that Namibia’s pedestrian death by road user category is amongst the highest in the world at 32 per cent.
It also warned that almost half of all deaths on the world’s roads occur amongst those with the least protection such as motorcyclists (23 per cent); pedestrians (22 per cent); and cyclists (four per cent).
“The African region has the highest proportion of pedestrian and cyclist deaths at 43 per cent of all road traffic deaths, while these rates are relatively low in the South-East Asia Region.
“This partly reflects the level of safety measures in place to protect different road users and the predominant forms of mobility in different regions,” the report noted.
The statistics for Namibia show that the deaths by road user category for drivers of four-wheeled cars and light vehicles is 31 per cent; while it is 30 per cent for passengers of four wheeled cars and light vehicles. The lowest figure in the category is for cyclists (one per cent); riders of motorised two-or-three wheelers (one per cent); drivers/passengers of buses (two per cent); and drivers/passengers of heavy trucks (two per cent).
Namibia also has no post-crash care in terms of emergency access telephone numbers. Another concern raised by the WHO is that there are no policies to encourage investment in public transport; and no policies to separate road uses and protect vulnerable road users in Namibia.
According to the WHO statistics, the total number of registered vehicles for 2012 in Namibia was estimated at 280 583. Reported road traffic fatalities for the same year were at 308, while the WHO estimated road traffic facilities stood at 551.
While there has been progress towards improving road safety legislation and in making vehicles safer globally, the pace of change is too slow.
“This report showed that 1.25 million people are killed each year on the world’s roads and that this figure has plateaued since 2007. In the face of rapidly increasing motorisation, this stabilisation of an otherwise projected increase in deaths is an indication of the progress that has been made.
“Urgent action is needed to achieve the ambitious target for road safety reflected in the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: halving the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2020,” it added.
The Namibian statistics were provided to the WHO by the National Road Safety Council.