Road Culprits Beware!

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The third Broken Window Law Enforcement Campaign, which is sponsored by Namibia Breweries, was officially launched in Windhoek yesterday. This time around a lot of pressure would be focussed on shebeens, where people end up drinking most of the time, consequently driving home while under the influence. City Police officials together with their Namibian Police counterparts will team up concentrating on traffic offences with the intention to root out crime and to reduce the high number of road accidents in and around the city. These include offences such as unroadworthy vehicles, speeding, drunken driving, use of cell phones while driving, failing to wear seatbelts, driving without a driver’s license and jay-walking. Officially launching the campaign, Deputy Mayor of the City of Windhoek Elaine Trepper said such types of offences contribute immensely to accidents on the city’s roads, resulting in the unnecessary loss of lives. Statistics indicate 4 183 accidents were recorded during 2004/2005 compared to the record of 4001 in 2005/2006. Most of the accidents were alcohol related. “Accidents involving alcohol are a matter of concern for the city and its partners in this campaign, because irresponsible drinking is a major factor contributing to fatalities,” said Trepper. At the same time the deputy mayor urged all road users to adhere to the traffic rules and regulations in order to minimise the loss of lives in fatal road accidents, while at the same time encouraging motorists to use the road responsibly. At the same event, Head of Corporate Social Investment at Namibia Breweries, Patricia Hoeksema, expressed concern over the high number of accidents that still prevails despite the hard work by law enforcement agents. “Namibians are still not acting responsibly when they take to the road. The recent spate of horrific road accidents has once again emphasised that no matter what the authorities and business community do, if we as citizens don’t act responsibly there will be consequences,” said Hoeksema. It is reported that the number of accidents during the period July 2005 to June 2006 shows a decrease when compared to the previous period – however the rate of fatalities has increased significantly. “This is alarming and it can be assumed that speed plays a major role in the severity of injuries,” added Hoeksema. According to the latest crime report, two cases of reckless and negligent driving have been reported. A man was bumped while crossing the road, while in Mariental a government car was driven recklessly and later overturned. The previous Broken Window Law Enforcement Campaign 2 was described as a success for all stakeholders. “Alcohol related accidents decreased, while on the other hand alcohol related traffic arrests increased. This is an indication that the NBL Broken Window Law Enforcement Campaign is effective, as potential culprits are apprehended before they can cause an accident,” explained Hoeksema. Apart from this campaign, Namibia Breweries Limited is encouraging responsible drinking of its products through supporting the Drug Awareness Group and Ngambeka Road Safety Campaign. Furthermore, in 2004, the company also became a founding member of the Coalition on Responsible Drinking and recently launched the “Too Much is Too Much Media Campaign.” It was on November 26, 2004 that the Broken Window campaign was launched in partnership with the City Police’s Traffic Unit. While the first campaign ended in June last year, after its evaluation the second one was launched in July 2005. Now with the ending of the second one, the third campaign has now officially started. At the end of the launching, supervisors of the five sections within the City Police Traffic Unit were awarded with certificates for their hard work in the second Broken Window Law Enforcement Campaign.