23 Nov 2013 10:30am
WINDHOEK, 23 NOV (NAMPA) - The Minister of Works and Transport, Erkki Nghimtina has appealed to all Namibians to personally contribute towards the saving of lives during the festive season.
The minister particularly appealed to Namibians to obey all traffic regulations and take personal responsibility for their own safety while on national roads.
He made the appeal in a speech read on his behalf by the ministrys Permanent Secretary, Peter Mwatile at the official launch of the Festive Season Road Safety Campaign for 2013/2014 in the capital on Friday.
The campaign is a joint effort by the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA), the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), and the Namibian Police Force (NamPol). It is aimed at reducing road accidents, injuries and fatalities through targeted action against common road offences such as speeding, drinking and driving, overloading and unfit vehicles, which are the leading causes of accidents in Namibia.
If we fail to obey traffic regulations while on national roads, the outcome will be harsh. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that globally, 1.3 million people die as a result of road accidents every year, which amounts to 3 500 deaths every day, Nghimtina noted.
In addition, on average 50 million people sustain non-fatal injuries from road traffic crashes every year, and these injuries are a significant cause of disabilities worldwide.
In Namibia, road crashes will soon be number one cause of death, surpassing all other causes. Mind you that, this is a preventable cause, the minister said.
According to Nghimtina, the situation is even more worrying considering Namibia's small population. Over the last five years, Namibia recorded around 13 000 accidents in which over 2 000 people lost their lives and over 21 000 were injured. Today, some of them are still struggling to come to terms with life-changing disabilities and economic consequences.
I am reliably informed that last year, we recorded the highest number of injuries and fatalities in the last five years, with 3 547 accidents and 561 fatalities. So far this year, Namibia has already lost 540 lives on our road and the festive season has not even begun yet. This clearly indicates that we have a major problem on our hands, Nghimtina indicated.
The minister further stated that he is confident that this years campaign will bring about the change is Namibia seeking on its national roads.
Nghimtina also appealed to the law enforcement agencies to help protect people by ensuring that all those who make themselves guilty of transgressing set traffic regulations feel the full wrath of the law.
We must show those who disregard the value of human life, and purposely put others at risk, that such actions will not be tolerated this time around and moving forward, he stated.
Nghimtina also issued a stern warning to public transport operators in particular, some of whom are reported to be notorious with regards to speeding and reckless driving, to obey traffic regulations and rules.
Do not place profits above human life. It is not humanly possible for one person to drive from Windhoek to Oshakati and then back to Windhoek again in 24 hours without putting people's live at unnecessary and preventable risk. This practice should come to an end, and I trust that the police officers at the road blocks will be on the lookout for these drivers and deal with them accordingly, he added.
The campaign is being carried out under the theme Mind the consequences of speeding.