Accidents claim 700 young people in 5 years

Covid lockdown reduced road fatalities
There was a reduction in road fatalities in 2020 thanks to travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic.
Enzo Amuele
Data collected by the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund confirms that 735 young people died in car crashes between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2021.

The highest percentage of these deaths occurred in 2017, when 182 lives were lost, accounting for 23% of all fatalities, compared to 133 deaths in 2018 and 154 fatalities in 2019, accounting for 25% of all fatalities.

However, there was a decrease in fatalities in 2020, with 118, which then increased in 2021, with 148 succumbing, representing a higher portion of 27 percent of annual deaths.

According to MVA Fund statistics, 22 young people suffered serious injuries that resulted in permanent disability.

Over a five-year period, the Fund spent a total of N$12 847 693 on seriously injured claimants.

According to MVA spokesperson Surihe Gaomas-Guchu, the fund, in collaboration with road safety partners, encourages all road users to follow traffic rules and regulations. "Raise awareness about self-policing, such as always wearing a seat belt, avoiding drunk driving, and distracted driving, such as using cell phones while driving," she suggests.

Gaomas-Guchu added that it is the responsibility of road safety partners to raise awareness among youth in order to change their behaviour as road users, whether as pedestrians, passengers, or drivers.

She added that there is currently no data available that suggests a link between young road users and crash occurrences in Namibia.

However, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) report on Youth and Road Safety, a combination of physical and developmental immaturity among youth, inexperience, and youth-related lifestyles increases the risk of young road users, particularly males, crashing.

The MVA Fund is led by its Road Safety Strategy 2018-2022, a five-year road safety strategy developed with a greater emphasis on reducing the number of crashes on Namibian roads, with an emphasis on a Safe System Approach that holistically focuses on 'Safe People and Safe Road Systems'.

Gaomas-Guchu concluded that the fund and other road safety partners work tirelessly to advocate for zero deaths, crashes, and injuries on the roads through awareness campaigns such as community engagements, youth webinars, collaboration with various motor clubs, and the use of mass media, including cyberspace, to communicate specific road safety messages to the youth.