Some Wiped Their Backside at the Warning


Dear Mr Minister of Transport PERMIT me to congratulate you on your effort to improve road safety and to curtail accidents on the road. This is highly appreciated. It seems you are one, of the very few ministers, that puts his feet where his mouth is: Not only talking, but acting. On the other hand, you should be highly upset and feel insulted. Although you have openly warned the public you are going to task the police to enforce the law, substantial users of the road wiped their backside at your warning and carried on as always. They did not heed your warning, because they did NOT believe a single word you said. There was however one vital item that was missing during that campaign, which to my opinion is just as important – the checking of the general functioning of the vehicle, like lights, tyres, etc. It is my guess that about 25% of all headlights in the country are not properly adjusted. It probably would increase road safety over weekends substantially, if you would, in conjunction with the private industry, do a “VEHICLE LIGHT” control at the various checkpoints. In the “bad” old days before Independence this was regularly done at the beginning of school vacations and holidays on the initiative of the Road Safety Council. The worst thing that you did however was telling the public at large that the traffic-rule campaign you initiated would stop at a certain date. With this statement you created the impression that after the campaign everybody can go back to the old ways. Was this really your idea – enforcing the traffic rules only forÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 14 days? In another statement, you said you would like to revise the ‘Road traffic and Transport Act of 1999″ to make it more understandable to the broad population of Namibia. This is highly commendable and, to my opinion, long overdue. One thing however that is very long overdue, is to make the laws of the country easily available to the population at large and free of charge. It does not make sense that Namibia sports and brags with the best laws of Africa, but it is near impossible for a citizen outside Windhoek to obtain a copy of that law. Please make all laws available via the Internet. To comment on your other statement that you would like to have law-abiding drivers, this is highly commendable but wishful thinking. In this case it can only work when all drivers that are caught without a driver’s license, all drivers under the influence, all drivers that committed an offence like ‘reckless driving’, and any other offence that you might include, must attend a two- or three-day compulsory training course with psychological orientation, theoretical and practical driving, especially defensive driving, an hour or two on a driving simulator or video, identifying transgression of traffic rules, etc. Paying a fine hurts perhaps the pocket, but to be forced to be retrained hurts the ego. Please, keep up the good work. Rainer Iben Windhoek