Road safety campaign gears up for festive season

By Paulina Ndalikokule

MOTOR Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) chief executive officer Rosalia Martins-Hausiku says the frequency of road accidents is eating into their budget, and this is a problem, given the economic situation of the country. She made the remarks at the launch of the festive season road safety campaign, which officially kicked off in Windhoek on Monday under the theme ‘Do the Right Thing and Save Lives’.

Martins-Hausiku said on an annual basis the MVA spends close to N$180 million on medical and other expenses, as well as N$50 million per annum paid in compensation to those injured on Namibia’s roads. “We also have the loss of support where a breadwinner is lost as a result of a crash. We are paying N$50 million per annum [on compensation claims],” she said.

She added that this year the Fund would assist the campaign with emergency response capacity on the B1 and B2 roads. “We will set up temporary emergency response units in partnership with the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the Namibian Defense Force.”   

The CEO also said statistics on road crashes were pointing in the right direction after the MVA recorded a decline in car crashes, injuries and fatalities compared to the previous year

As part of the campaign, temporary roadblocks will be set-up across the country to ensure that motorists adhere to traffic rules and regulations. There will also be an increase in highway patrols.

In the keynote address read on his behalf, Minister of Works and Transport John Mutorwa said law enforcement and emergency response teams’ visibility is absolutely crucial and key to the reduction of road crash accidents and fatalities. He urged road users to take responsibility for their own lives by adhering to the rules of the road at all times.

“Road users have a tendency to misbehave when there is no visibility of traffic officers on the main roads and in town centres, but unfortunately the consequences of such behavior quickly shows its brutal face.”

Mutorwa also applauded stakeholders involved in the initiative, adding that road safety is an issue that cuts across all sectors which requires passion and dedication to deliver the desired results and impact. “Your presence at this occasion is a demonstration of your commitment to help promote road safety in Namibia,” the minister said.

The campaign was launched by the National Road Safety Council together with traffic law enforcement agencies and other road safety stakeholders, such as the Roads Authority, MVA Fund and local authorities. The implementation of the added road safety checks came into force last week and will be in place until 16 January.