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Six perish in animal-related crashes this year …MVA Fund calls for vigilance

by   Rodney Pienaar

Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) statistics have revealed that at least six people died from animal-related car accidents this year.

The statistics also show that 137 others sustained serious to minor injuries due to the same.

When compared to the previous year, crashes declined by 30% and injuries by 38% while fatalities increased by 33%.

MVA Fund recorded 117 animal-related crashes which resulted in 4 fatalities and 189 injuries last year. 

Chief of Corporate Affairs Kapena Tjombonde has said that these statistics indicate that crashes and injuries represented only 3% of total animal-related accidents and injuries.

While fatalities represented less than 1% in 2016 and MVA is involved in educating farmers on dangers caused by stray animals in the corridors next to roads. 

“The MVA Fund urges farmers to keep domestic animals off public roads, take control of their farming activities by instituting a thorough search when livestock goes missing and herd their livestock during the day and keep them in kraals at night 

"Commercial farmers are advised to carry out periodical inspections of fencing to ensure that animals do not stray from the grazing fields,” she said. 

She added that MVA calls upon all drivers to exercise extra vigilance especially during the dry season when animals are more likely to be close to the road looking for greener pastures and when driving in areas with high volumes of wildlife motorists should be attentive to road warning signs and adjust accordingly. 

Various road safety partners including MVA Fund, National Road Safety Council (NRSC), SAIF, Private Road Safety Forum (PRSF) and Ministry of Works and Transport held discussions about road safety impediments along the Trans-Kalahari Corridor, A1 and A2 routes.   

According to Tjombonde, the communities expressed various challenges about controlling their livestock.

These include a lack of impounding kraals in the corridors to keep stray animals, lack of financial resources to rehabilitate border fences that collapse due to wear and tear and lack of knowledge on how to administer Section 348 of the Road Traffic and Transport Regulations of 2001. 

“The Regulation states that a person may not leave or allow any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig or ostrich to be on any section of a public road where that section is fenced or in any other manner closed along both sides,” she said.

She said animal-related collisions can oftentimes be fatal, especially if the collision occurres between a motor vehicle and large livestock such as cattle causing occupants to be severely injured or losing their lives.

According to the MVA Fund Call Centre this scenario resulted in the loss of 13 lives and 265 people sustaining varying degrees of injury in 140 crashes involving animals in 2016.

Regional crash data shows that Otjozondjupa (20) recorded the highest number of animal-related crashes followed by Oshikoto with (10) towing right behind are Hardap and Omaheke which recorded eight animal-related crashes each. 

However, Zambezi region (2) recorded the highest number of fatalities with Otjozondjupa, Omusati, //Karas and Oshana regions recoding one death each.