Road traffic authorities out in full force

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About 50 traffic officials will be deployed on the B1 and B2 roads to screen 500 drivers per day for alcohol and to check 500 vehicles for roadworthiness every day. This means over the festive season an average of 7 500 vehicles and 7 500 drivers will be screened to provide valuable baseline data for future road traffic interventions and speed checks will be done at all eight points on a daily basis on both B1 and B2 roads. In terms of the above, the Namibian police started deploying traffic officers already from last November onto the B1 and B2 roads and such traffic policing activities can be seen in Windhoek, as well. As in the short-term interventions between last August and October, eight strategic points on both the B1 and B2 have been manned by officers from NAMPOL, Roads Authority, Local Authority Traffic Units, Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, NRSC and Private Emergency Response Service Providers. In its mandate of promoting road safety in Namibia, it has become a culture for the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) in conjunction with its stakeholders to carry out the Festive Season Road Safety Campaign to curb the road carnage during the festive season. This year’s campaign was launched by Minister of Works and Transport, Alpheus !Naruseb in Otjiwarongo at the beginning of December. The campaign has been scheduled to run from November 16 until January 15, 2017 to stabilise and reduce the spiraling road crashes and their resultant injuries and fatalities on the B1 (from Windhoek to Ondangwa) and B2 (from Okahandja to Swakopmund) national roads. The theme for this year’s festive season road safety campaign is “I Pledge” and the slogan is ‘Road safety, My Responsibility’. During this festive season the focus is mainly on speed management, vehicle fitness and driver fitness as well as driving under the influence of alcohol. The campaign is undertaken as a multi-stakeholder effort drawing on the lessons from the short-term interventions last August to October. The NRSC believes proper planning and communication is of essence. The launch was jointly organised by the NRSC and the MVA Fund in collaboration with public, private and non-governmental entities. The Namibian police also recently launched their road safety and crime prevention operations for the upcoming festive season. The campaign has been running from November 16 to January 17, 2017. During the launch deputy inspector general for operations, James Tjivikua, reiterated the importance of safety, especially on national roads, as well as in cities and towns. This operation is being conducted by the MVA, Windhoek City Police, the NRSC, the Road Fund Administration (RFA) and the Roads Authority (RA). During the last two festive seasons, 653 accidents were recorded resulting in the death of 112 people and 2 494 injuries. Residents of the Khomas region have recorded some of the highest accident rates over this year so far. “As you are all aware, the effects of a road traffic accident shall never be under-emphasised. Accidents cause death and serious injuries to victims who, in most cases, happen to be breadwinners in their families. This negatively affects the society they lived in and, most importantly, their dependents,” Tjivikua stressed. Tjivikua further urged drivers to make sure their vehicles are road worthy and to refrain from drinking and driving or using their mobile phones while driving. Drivers and passengers should always wear their seatbelts, long-distance drivers should have co-drivers, road users should be vigilant, cyclists should wear protective helmets and pedestrians should cross the roads cautiously. According to Tjivikua, the campaign will focus on eight different areas: abuse of alcohol and drugs; dangerous driving; safety of vehicle occupants; public transport and load management; vulnerable road users; vehicle fitness; patrol duties and accident response time. As it is that time of year when suitcases are packed and families are ready to set off to various destinations for the holidays, a few safety tips from the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund to ensure your road trip runs smoothly are in order: Ensure Your Car Is Problem-Free and Roadworthy – Check the fluids in your car – the engine oil, coolant, brake fluids and windscreen water levels to avoid unnecessary breakdowns. – Check that all car’s lights and signals are functional. – Ensure that you have all emergency equipment inside your car, and that everything works properly. Emergency equipment includes fully charged cellphone, spare tyre and emergency tools (e.g. flashlight, screwdrivers, pliers an adjustable spanner, first aid kit, re extinguisher and reflective warning triangle). – Ensure that your car is CLUTTER FREE. Keep free lying items away as these can obstruct you while driving. – Ensure that all seatbelts in your vehicle are working. Tyre Safety – Make sure the tyres have the correct speed rating compared to the speed of your car. – Check your tyres for wear and tear. – Before you travel check if your tyres, including the spare wheel, have the correct pressure – Make sure you have a wheel spanner that fits your wheel studs – Inflate your tyres with nitrogen for cooler running – Check if your locknut keys are in the car. Use The Road Wisely – Plan your route in advance and rest well enough before embarking on a journey. Make sure that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before embarking on a trip. Check that all the lights, indicators, windscreen wipers, brakes and tyres are in a good working condition. – Seat belts help prevent severe injuries in case of an accident. Ensure that you and everyone in the car is wearing a seatbelt. – Where possible, do not drive after dark. – Do not take unnecessary risks such as overtaking more than one vehicle at a time. – Take safety breaks every two hours in order to avoid driver fatigue. – If you are going to drink, do not drive – rather use a designated driver. – Always be alert about pedestrians alongside the road. – Be visible – always drive with your lights on, even during the day. – Do not overtake more than one vehicle at a time. – Speed kills. Adhere to speed limits at all times. – Be courteous to other road users. Call the Accident Response Number 0819682 to report road crashes from anywhere in the country.

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