Council to Investigate Accident Fires

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Concerned about a recent increase in the number of vehicles that burst into flames after being involved in collisions, the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication is to launch an investigation to determine the reasons for the fires that break out. The probe would possibly look at what role is being played by high-octane fuels which catch alight on high impact. As a result, the Ministry has mandated the National Safety Council (NSC) to investigate the cause of these fires that accompany many of the horrific collisions. The Minister of Works, Transport and Communication Joel Kaapanda yesterday revealed to New Era that the National Safety Council, which is a department within the ministry that conducts educational road campaigns, is carrying out the investigation. The department also educates the public on traffic regulations and other road problems. “I requested them to undertake an investigation to ascertain the kind of cars, and the make that have been involved in accidents (where people have died and were incinerated),” said Kaapanda. The investigation into the model of cars would also determine what type of cars easily catch fire during times of accidents. The analysis will also involve testing fuel types to see if this could be another contributing factor leading to car explosions. Most motorists today make use of high-octane unleaded petrol after Octane 93 petrol was phased out following environmental concerns. Kaapanda could not state the exact date when the report will be ready but assured it will be soon. He added the course of action will depend on the outcome of the investigation. Despite the viability of unleaded petrol, some people have argued it is highly flammable and easily bursts into flames when overheated. In less than a month, over seventeen lives have been lost in separate road accidents. In an effort to find solutions to this problem, the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) together with other partners from both the public and private sectors recently piloted the Xupifa Eemwenyo (Save Lives) 2006 Road Safety Campaign for this year’s upcoming festive season. Last year, the project was piloted by the MVA with the aim to reduce road accidents in five regions in the north, namely, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana, Oshikoto and Otjozondjupa. With another campaign, ‘Ngambeka’, the MVA reported a reduced number of fatalities. Plans are now under way to roll out the same campaigns throughout the country. Close to N$2-million is needed to make the campaign Xupifa Eemwenyo a success during the upcoming festive period. This will go a long way in curbing excessive speeding, drinking and driving as well as overloading.

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