A total of 2698 road traffic collisions have been recorded in the country as from the beginning of the year to date, according to Inspector General of the Namibian Police Force, Lt Gen Sebastian Ndeitunga.
Of this figure, as it emerged at the Xupifa Eemwenyo launch last week, 4679 injuries and 473 fatalities have been incurred, creating a serious concern.
Xupifa Eemwenyo - Oshiwambo for ‘save lives’ - is a yearly festive season road safety campaign, which has been spearheaded by the Motor Vehicle Fund of Namibia (MVA) since 2005.
Speaking on behalf of Lt General Ndeitunga at the launch, the deputy police commissioner, Joseph Shimweelao Shikongo emphasised that for a small population like Namibia’s, the road accidents recorded daily are alarming.
“Major tragedies have become more frequent. They claim lives and survivors often sustain permanent disabilities. In 2011 alone, Namibia recorded a total number of 2902 road traffic collisions, which resulted in 5659 injuries and 492 fatalities. Statistics reveal that this year, there seems to be no reversal in the trend, which is really a matter of concern for all of us,” he said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in Namibia, Dr Magda Roballo, two people are injured on a daily basis in Namibia. Consequently, road crashes cause more deaths in the country than maternal mortality.
The MVA Fund stakeholder’s report 2011/12 released during the launch shows, there has been a constant increase in road crash rates since 2009. A total of 319 crashes were reported that year, with the figure increasing by 19% to 453 in 2011. Based on the trend, crash rates are due to increase unless there is an active and concerted effort in public education and law enforcement intervention.
The stakeholder’s report is based on road accidents recorded during the 2011 festive season from 28th November that year until 15th January this year.
The current stakeholder’s report also states, 68% of injury-related crashes have been occurring in the late afternoons (peak time) between 16h00 and 18h00. Another significant number of road crashes, according to the report, have been occurring in the early morning hours between midnight and 06h00, which highlight the risks associated with night driving.
Young citizens aged 21-35 accounted for 403 crashes, representing 43% of everyone injured in all road crashes within the period under review.
MVA chief corporate affairs, Stephen Tjiuoro, said, one of the objectives of the campaign, which is annually run during the festive season, is to support law enforcement agencies in order to increase police visibilities on the roads. Moreover, it creates public awareness of the risks associated with reckless driving through robust public education interventions as well as enhance emergency medical response services.
Tjiuoro thus called for a multi-sectoral approach and closer collaboration in the hope that it will assist the nation to curtail this epidemic on wheels.
For the success of the campaign, various sponsors have been involved in the project. Entities such as the Standard Bank Namibia (SBN), contribute over N$60 000 through various activities while First National Bank (FNB) Namibia brings in almost N$80 000, not to forget Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL)’s N$60 000, amongst others.