Deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry of justice, Gladice Pickering has said Namibians do not have the emotional maturity to drive cars imported from and manufactured in Germany, which has contributed to many road accidents.
Pickering made her bold statement at a stakeholder engagement on the Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) during a dialogue session chaired by the national Road Safety Council’s Ambrosius Tierspoor yesterday in the capital.
“One of the issues, and I will not stop talking about this one, I don’t care if people get bored or what they think about the matter, is the issue of emotional maturity. That is something that we should not underestimate. It takes a lot of emotional maturity for somebody to be able to drive a vehicle.”
“Furthermore, it takes a lot of emotional maturity to know how to handle his or her expensive Germany machine. Our people don’t have that. I also drive a fast Germany car but one of those small ones but every time I test that car’s ability, I remind myself that if you want to test the real ability of this car, ask yourself do you have what it takes to do that? And until now my answer has been no, so I decided to sell the car.”
She also said Namibians do not have the emotional capacity to drive long distances as well as to deal with other road users inclusive of cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers.
Pickering said instances of road rage that play out on the country’s roads testifies to that effect, adding that she was glad that under the education pillar of the Decade of Action for Road Safety, there is a call for the integration of road safety into the school curriculum and implementation of junior traffic training centres and scholar patrol.
“That initiative alone is the single biggest success factor because you need to breed that mentality from a very young age. That emotional maturity that we need, you can only breed it from that age. It’s like corruption. You can not tackle it here on top. You will never succeed!” she stamped.
Tierspoor also agreed and called for the country to look at examples set by other countries like Australia where young adults of 19 years are able to handle big engines effectively.
“It’s very easy for an Australian child who is now 19 at universities to start to drive because at grade 11 or grade eight that child has already started training at school to have that school driving programme,” he said.
In a previous interview with The Villager’s sister magazine, Prime Focus Magazine, Executive Secretary of the Namibia Road Safety Council, Eugene Tendekule said every vehicle was causing accidents in the country.
“We have about 280 000 vehicles and 203000 licensed drivers in Namibia. If you take the number of vehicles and you divide them by the number of accidents, you will be able to determine how many accidents we record per registered vehicle.”
“Ours is a double digit figure, while developed countries have managed to keep their figures down to single digits. Since 2002 we have been recording in access of 50 crashes per 1000 vehicles. The point that comes out clearly is that almost every vehicle is causing an accident in Namibia.”
A month ago, the minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa said he wanted the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund of Namibia (MVA) to do a study on causes of car crashes in stipulated regions and present the findings to his office for agreeable and workable solutions by the end of August 2018.
In 2017 alone, car crashes killed half a thousand Namibians most which are the economically active.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Namibia has ranked Namibia number one in the world in terms of the number of road deaths per 100 000 residents.
To rescue the situation, among a plethora of interventions, Tierspoon yesterday agreed that driving schools need to be formalised to control those that train the trainers.
He however, pointed out that instances where people tend to buy their licences have dropped, which is a plus for the country.