Otjiwarongo road still an accident hot spot
TSUMEB – A total of 329 road accidents have been recorded on the road between Otjiwarongo and Otavi for the period between January and last week, according to information from the Otjiwarongo Traffic Unit. The accidents involved 24 government owned vehicles.
The unit also says that it has issued 187 fines since January, valued at N$293 850, for various road offences ranging from speeding and driving without a licence to talking on the phone while operating a vehicle, driving with an expired licence, overloading and drinking and driving.
The Otjiwarongo Traffic Unit Commander Warrant Nafthalie !Abeb believes most offences could have been easily avoided because all drivers know that drinking and driving is illegal as is talking on the phone without the aid of a hands-free device. “When a traffic officer stops a driver for speeding, only to discover the driver is not wearing a seatbelt and in addition to that he or she does not have a licence, a fine is inevitable because this situation is an accident waiting to happen,” he explained.
He attributed the decrease in road accidents and fatalities to the tireless efforts by traffic officers who are always on the road keeping a watchful eye. !Aebeb said passenger vehicles and long distance taxis are the majority of vehicles caught speeding. The young and very old form the majority of road users without a licence.
According to !Aebeb the practice of commission payments among long-distance drivers contribute to the overloading of long-distance vehicles. “Because they are paid according to commission, the more people they transport the more money they make. [Long distance drivers] try to maximize their profits and thus endanger other road users,” he said.
Although serious accidents are fewer now, !Aebeb said that people need to change their mentality when using national roads. “People are so anxious to get behind the wheel of the car that they disregard themselves and other road users. This really needs to change, drivers must have the maturity to know that when they are on the road they have the lives of not only their passengers but all road users in their hands,” he said.
By John Travolter Matali