Over-speeding Tops Traffic Offences

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Motorists continue to pay thousands of dollars for various traffic offences, following the introduction of Xupifa Eemwenyo pilot project. The latest figures show that 1ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 574 written notices, translating into N$3ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 733ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 750, were issued by traffic officers in a period of five days. From 10 to 15 April 4ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 655 vehicles were stopped and inspected on national roads and 34 percent of these were charged for non-compliance with traffic regulations. Minister of Transport, Works and Communication, Joel Kaapanda, told a media briefing yesterday that over-speeding continues to dominate the list of offences on the roads with 350 notices issued. Further, 145 motorists operated without driver’s licences, 150 vehicles were unfit, 231 were penalized for not wearing seatbelts, while 89 operated without professional authorization and five were arrested for overloading. The minister said 24 accidents were recorded but there were no fatalities. One injury was reported compared to 42 on average in 2005/6. “I am pleased that we have recorded a significant success in terms of reducing road traffic accidents and ensuring that no lives were lost on our roads during the period under review,” the minister said. He added that time has come for Namibia to demand better drivers on the national roads. While rapid short- to medium-term gains can be made through structured and systematic interventions proposed in Xupifa Eemwenyo pilot project, Kaapanda said he is aware of the struggle to change basic attitudes and transform Namibia’s road users’ culture. He called on all road users to help Government build a good culture of safety, care and compassion. “We call upon our road users to refrain from Road Accidents Immune Delusion Syndrome (Raids) whereby some road users think that road accidents cannot happen to them,” Kaapanda stated. Considering that heavy vehicles have frequently been involved in road accidents, he appealed to operators and drivers to ensure that they have enough time to rest, as fatigue is one of the contributing factors to fatal road accidents, especially at night. During the Easter holiday alone, motorists paid close to N$500ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 in spot fines countrywide. Kaapanda told New Era that there will be zero tolerance to traffic infringements. “There is no complacency, we have to ensure law and order on the national roads. We are doing it to save lives and protect road users”, he added. Most of the traffic tickets were issued along the busiest roads stretching from Windhoek to the northern towns and also to the Erongo Region. Since the launch of this campaign, there are no significant challenges faced. The exercise is likely to intensify during the Cassinga Day holiday. The campaign ends on 6 May this year. A Permanent Road Safety Management System will be drawn based on the success of this campaign.