Car population growth drastically increases road fatalities - report

Ellanie Smit
Ellanie Smit

WINDHOEK

The number of vehicles in the country has increase by 169% over 20 years, and this has resulted in road fatalities drastically increasing.

This according to the National Road Safety Council’s (NRSC) annual report for the 2018/2019 financial year, which was adopted in the National Assembly last week.

Namibia’s vehicle population has increased from 145 000 in 1999 to 393 000 in 2018.

Meanwhile, road fatalities increased by 165% - from an estimated 293 fatalities in 1999 to 778 in 2017.

According to the report, fatalities per hundred thousand inhabitants increased from 15.7 in 1999 to 32.8 in 2017.

It said, on average, car crashes claim about 60 to 65 lives per month in Namibia.

Different approach

Given the understanding that road traffic crashes are preventable, their continued manifestation is an indication that the issue is not being afforded the attention it deserves, the report said.

The NRSC, therefore, mooted and implemented a different approach in 2018.

With the involvement of Namibian Police, the Roads Authority’s transport inspectorate and local authority traffic departments, the council funded the deployment of traffic law enforcement officers on the B1 and B2 roads for six months.

“This initiative turned out to be very successful in making a significant dent in the country’s overall road carnage,” according to the report.

Injury-related crashes reduced by 8% from 4 061 in 2017 to 3 718 in 2018, while fatalities decreased by a massive 27% from 778 in 2017 to 571 in 2018.

Fatalities per 100 000 inhabitants dropped by 21% from 32.8 in 2017 to 23.7 at the end of 2018.

The overall budget for the financial year under review stood at N$ 68.7 million, of which N$57 million was expended on operational and road safety expenses. Furthermore, the total operational expenses stood to N$ 37.4 million as at end of March 2019.

Geocoding accident records

Geocoding of accident records was done at various spatial scales according to the availability of information for each accident record.

A total of 57 097 accident records - of 80 941 - were geocoded successfully at town level.

A total of 32 766 accident records were successfully geocoded at suburb level.

At the street/road level, 37 000 accident records were geocoded successfully.

Further, 23 406 accident records were geocoded at street/road segment level, while only 7 298 accident records were geocoded to point level, the report said.