Thirteen killed, campaign under scrutiny

The Motor Vehicle Fund (MVA) is under public scrutiny for its massive road safety campaigns which have been deemed ineffective, as road accidents claimed 13 lives during the 1-5 May weekend.
 The MVA Fund Call Centre recorded a total of 57 crashes, where 13 people lost their lives in separate incidents over the past long weekend. MVA Fund records reveal that nine of the deceased, died as passengers and two were drivers while information on the other two is not known.
Khomas region recorded the highest crashes during the Cassinga long weekend with 21 crashes, followed by Erongo with 11, Oshana with six and Oshikoto region with five. No crashes were recorded from Zambezi, Ohangwena and Omusati region during the long weekend.
The fatalities have increased as opposed to eight recorded over the same period the previous year, while crashes declined by 14 and injuries reduced by 13.
Motor Vehicle Fund (MVA) chief executive officer, Rosalia Martins-Hausiku  who spoke to The Villager said while she doesn’t want to say their campaigns were successful or not she says many factors play an important role.
“We can go on having successful campaigns but if other factors are not considered, nothing will improve. Factors such as enforcement, the MVA doesn’t always have access to the Police thus we can’t enforce the law ourselves. Furthermore resources do play an important role, we can set up road blocks, have campaigns and the road crashes will decrease but once the allocated resources are finished we are back to square one,” she said.
A total of nine people died on the scene and three succumbed to their injuries in hospital and one person died while en route to the hospital.
Although there is a notable decline in crashes and injuries, more people continue to die in these crashes, this time on average four persons were killed in one crash, MVA’s corporate communication manager, Catherine Shipushu said this is a regrettable reality that calls for more stringent measures and increased road safety interventions.
“Overloading and night driving are contributing factors to mass fatalities and vehicle owners are urged to refrain from this risky practice.  The MVA Fund thus appeals to all road users to assume individual and collective responsibility of a safe road network at all times,” she said.
Roll-overs and pedestrian-related crashes have continuously been the highest types of crashes. According to MVA’s statistics, 17 or 30% of the total record of crashes were a result of roll-overs followed by pedestrian-related crashes (11 or 19%). Roll-over types of crashes are mostly attributed to speed.
The CEO, Martins-Hausiku also confined to The Villager that the preliminary findings shows many factors that contribute to road accidents.
“Most of the findings are that drivers are driving under the influence of alcohol, other findings are road engineering, vehicle conditions and road conditions. The B1 road needs to be a dual carriage because that’s the road that records a lot of traffic but it’s not the same as 10 years ago.”
She says the way forward is to adopt a multi sector approach where everyone is involved but not just the MVA.
“Public education with enforcement is the key. Public education with enforcement can be a success because it will be in the media and we will have support from others. We need continued enforcement with resources because we still have a long way to go". Public road users and everyone must join hands to form shared leadership,” she urges.