21 Nov 2018 15:40pm
WINDHOEK, 21 NOV (NAMPA) Deaths due to road traffic accidents reached 3,76 per cent of the countrys total deaths while the country is ranked 45th globally in terms of road fatalities, Works and Transport Minister, John Mutorwa has disclosed.
Mutorwa revealed these findings in the National Assembly on Tuesday when he announced that Cabinet approved Namibias accession to the African Road Safety Charter.
Namibia, just like the rest of the continent is experiencing an upsurge in road safety fatalities to the level where it is becoming a crisis, the minister told the august house.
Mutorwa premised what he termed a crisis on 2017 statistics in which Namibia averaged 700 fatalities and more than 5 000 injuries.
Moreover, out of the list of 50 causes of death, road accident fatalities are ranked in eighth place. Mutorwa did not indicate what the other causes of death in Namibia are.
In addition, the minister expressed displeasure on how big a burden road fatalities were proving to be on the State fiscus, especially now that the countrys economy is struggling.
It was established (by the Road Safety Council) that the cost of road crashes to the Namibian economy amounts to N.dollars 1.3 billion per year, he lamented, adding that in times of scarcity, the money could have been put to good use.
Further, Mutorwa said the socio-economic benefits derived from the road transport sub-sector cannot be overemphasised.
Transportation provides extended access to jobs, education and healthcare, he mentioned as examples, while also connecting inter-continental trade among African countries.
Given the above factors, we cannot be complacent in our efforts to find a lasting solution to our road safety problem or our quest of improving our peoples living standards may dismally fail to yield the desired results.
The Charter serves as an instrument to create an enabling environment for the implementation of road safety on the continent.
Its six key objectives include the formulation of comprehensive road safety policies and laws at country and continental levels, and speedy and effective implementation of national, regional and continental road safety programmes.
Improved governance and structured coordination of road safety is also among the objectives, as well as the harmonisation of road safety data collection, treatment and dissemination at continental level.