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Private vehicles crashed the most in last festive season- Hollard … as crashes and driving under the influence cases declined

by Kelvin Chiringa

Sobering statistics released by Hollard indicate that although the number of crashes declined in the last festive season, private vehicles continue to lead in road accidents statistics.

 Over a period stretching from 22 November to 16 January in the 2017/18 festive season, there was a total of 634 crashes, 1 273 injuries and tragically, 134 people who lost their lives on the roads.

“The majority of these incidents involved privately owned vehicles consisting primarily of sedans and pick-ups,” says Hollard’s Brand and Marketing Manager Henriette Crouse in their findings.

 Khomas, as well as the Otjozondjupa region had the highest percentage overall in regards to crashes, and it clearly indicated that collisions, rollovers and pedestrians were the three main crash types

“It is common place in Namibia to expect an incline in the number of crashes, injuries and collisions that occur on our roads over the festive season due to the influx of tourists and the increase in alcohol consumption over that period. Sadly it remains a true and pressing matter that road users still face a dangerous journey on our beautiful roads, whenever and wherever they might be heading to,” says Crouse. 

Last year Hollard, in collaboration with the MVA Fund, Nampol, City Police, PSRSF, Primedia, Media Solutions, M+Z Motors, Print Shop Windhoek and Snyman Transport introduced the public to the STAND campaign, aimed at addressing issues such as DIU, negligent and or reckless driving.

 The campaign kicked off with #STANDSOBER, where drivers would be randomly screened for driving under the influence of alcohol, with a zero tolerance approach to anyone found endangering the lives of fellow road users.

Throughout the last couple of months the campaign ran with positive results across the country, evolving to accommodate for better results in regards to the looming festive season.

“And we are proud to announce that over the same period for the 2017/18 season the statistics presented showed a decline in all aspects as to the year before,” says Crouse.

With heightened awareness and active intervention all across the country, the number of crashes decreased by 17% from 634 to 525.

The number of injuries sustained dropped by 25% from 1273 to 953, with fatalities sadly only decreasing by 5% from 134 to 127.

 None the less this goes to prove that through more direct action and intervention a positive change can be made to the current state of our Namibian roads.

“The success of this campaign had to do greatly with the involvement of what was called "The A-Team", which comprised of a number of highly trained officers that operated between Windhoek and the coast as well as between Windhoek and Ondangwa for a period of 45 days.”

“The A-Team consisted of 3% of the total traffic police force and tested roughly twice as many drivers in comparison to the previous season, a clear indicator that is definitely the way forward for reducing the number of DIU incidents in Namibia,” says Crouse. 

She says this campaign is a best practice which should be emulated in all regions throughout the country and to adopt a yearlong approach.

She adds, “We implore on policymakers to use the campaign information to review the current blood alcohol concentration levels and possibly align with SADC countries who are currently making headway in road safety strategies such as Botswana, and apply more stringent sanction on offenders as a general and specific deterrence element.”

“DIU, speeding and reckless driving is a problem that affects each and every Namibian, considering that our families and loved ones travel our roads. The positive decline in incidents over the festive season cannot be celebrated or cheered, because the 127 people who lost their lives on our roads did not get home to their loved ones safely. Let us look ahead at the challenges that we face, and make a country wide effort in making our roads safe and more forgiving environment,” she concludes.