By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The roadblock outside Karibib got a huge surprise yesterday morning when a driver in a badly mangled car and a smashed windscreen stopped. After a police inquiry at the Erongo roadblock, the driver informed the police that his car had overturned, but to his luck the car landed back on its four wheels and he just proceeded driving until he arrived at the roadblock. As the police listened to the driver, they suspected that he was heavily under the influence of alcohol. He put up a quarrel saying that he was not drunk. Eventually the man was arrested after it was discovered that he was drunk. In another incident, the police reported that one driver died instantly yesterday morning when his truck crashed into an oncoming mini-bus some 35 kilometers from Otavi in the Otjozondjupa Region. The truck driver is reported to have lost control resulting in the head-on collision around six o’clock in the morning. In the Erongo Region, two children were seriously injured after a driver lost control of his vehicle and it overturned. The driver sustained some fractured bones. The accident took place on Saturday on the Usakos and Arandis Road. At around midnight Wednesday, a driver hit an oryx on the Karibib-Okahandja Road. He sustained minor injuries. So far, 12 people have been arrested for drunken driving, 52 summonses have been issued for traffic offences, 20 vehicles suspended and three accidents occurred. Meanwhile, more sponsors yesterday pledged assistance to the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund as part of the Xupifa Eemwenyo Road Safety Campaign. Among them was Old Mutual that donated a cheque of N$100 000 for the procurement of the Jaws of Life – a machine that is used for cutting crash victims out of a mangled vehicle. The machine will be used at the 24-hour Karibib main roadblock. Handing over the cheque, Manager of Corporate Marketing of Old Mutual Namibia, Nangula Kauluma-!Gontes, said the gesture is part of their social responsibility as a corporate company. The Jaws of Life equipment was bought in South Africa. It is critical during the golden hour period – the 60-minute window period after an accident when lives can be saved. “This is the most critical time for care to be given and normally it takes between two to three hours for people to be removed from the vehicle, Safety of people is everyone’s business,” said Nangula-!Gontes adding that for a 42 000-kilometre road network countrywide, it was surprising to learn that there was only one Jaws of Life set, found at Swakopmund. Both Old Mutual Namibia and NAMCOR have now two more, which could go a long way in saving lives. Mutual and Federal also sponsored N$25 000 for breath-screen devices, alongside the Social Security Commission and MTC that contributed funds for the same equipment. Managing Director of Mutual and Federal, Gersom Katjimune, said the time had come for the public to change their driving behaviour and attitudes on the road. He added that drivers in Southern Africa are the worst when it comes to driving, with statistics shockingly high. In Namibia, “the amount of money paid for accidents is N$60-million a year for claims,” he said. It is evident that in the short-term insurance business, it takes up to 40 percent of the premiums. “That’s big money that pays for these claims and all the insurers when it comes to the motor business are losing out big time,” explained Katjimune. Nedbank Namibia was also another sponsor that gave a cheque of N$25 000 to the campaign for use on public education on road safety. Nedbank’s Co-ordinator of Corporate Social Investments and Sponsorships, Vido Tjozongoro, said more capital needs to be injected into such a noble cause like Xupifa Eemwenyo. “Let’s hope that 2006 is the year with the least accidents in our history,” said Tjozongoro. So far, Nedbank has injected over N$5-million into education, health and entrepreneurship projects countrywide. On its part NamWater sponsored 4 000 bottles of water for use by Nampol officials at all roadblocks countrywide.
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