No more bail for drunken drivers

Police Deputy Commissioner Amalia Gawanas said those caught driving under the influence will no longer have the luxury of bail.

 Gawanas said from now on, the law will come down and deal with the violators. “As from now on, there will be no bail for you. You will sit for 48 hours and then you will go to court. Even if you are arrested today, you will sit first for 48 hours and then you will go to the magistrate’s court,” she said.

Gawanas also said police officers have been deployed along the busy B1 and B2 highways. “I would like to inform that we do have on B1 and B2 34 places that we will place our members daily. And it will not be on one tree, it will not be the same tree. There must be a change; we cannot be standing under one tree, that’s nonsense! We call it nonsense,” she said.

 Namibia is currently reeling from an orgy of road fatalities that have claimed a lot of people and according to the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA), the majority are young people in the working class.

The scourge has also frustrated the Minister of Works Alpheus !Naruseb who recently called for a national approach to curbing road accidents on Namibia’s roads at a conference with experts from Africa and abroad. The scourge has posed a threat to Namibia’s international marketing endeavours as a tourism destination and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta has also thrown in his lot to fight in the reduction of fatalities by 2020.

The call has further been heeded by the city Mayor who has seen Windhoek’s status as leading in road crashes being a threat to his vision of making it a smart city in a few years’ time. The Deputy Commissioner vented her anger against drunken motorists who she advised to drink in the comforts of their homes.

“It is high time to learn that whatever we are doing has consequences, either it is good or it is bad. Using alcohol is only one thing; it does not have any two ways. And it is wrong. I do not know why we should drink and drive. If I am drinking why don’t I stay at home, go to my bed and sleep?

 Instead of going out there and be handled like a child by somebody,” said Deputy Commissioner Gawanas. Superintendent Sidney Boois confirmed that his team will be conducting sobriety tests around the city as they will be pulling up their socks in conjunction with Nampol.

“We will mainly be concentrated around the city while Nampol which has a bigger mandate will attend to the rest of the city. Driving under the influence is one of the principal law enforcement objectives of the police. The offence that is provided for under the Act simply talks about driving under the influence of Alcohol and we know from yesteryear it was simply the circumstantial evidence that would land you in trouble. This looks at the way you are operating the vehicle whether you are keeping it steady on the road, are you complying with traffic signs, the rules of the road and how you appear and react when you confront an officer,” said Boois.

Meanwhile, Hollard Insurance, the Private Sector Road Safety Forum and MVA have teamed up with the uniformed forces in the fight to reduce road accidents which have seen about 700 people dying annually.