OTJIWARONGO – Motorists warning each other about speed traps on the B1 road are making life difficult for traffic officers.
“Motorists warning each other make it hard for us to do our job,” complained Warrant-Officer Ediben Chombe of the traffic police.
According to Chombe their hands are tied. “Realistically speaking it is hard to even detect which motorists are warning others because sometimes they do and other times they do not. One solution we have is to drive one of our vehicles on the road, trying to catch motorists who are flashing other road users. When our vehicle is flashed the officers sound the siren to pull over the vehicle that flashed them and give the guilty driver a warning,” he said.
Otjiwarongo recently reported 19 accidents and no fatalities on the B1 road, with most accidents involving animals such as kudu and warthog.
Traffic police urged drivers to be vigilant when driving on the B1 road especially in areas where there is not much de-bushing as animal visibility is reduced.
“During the afternoon from 16h00 till the early hours of the morning, warthogs and kudu are plentiful on the road and unless the strip of road on which you are driving is de-bushed you will not see these animals until it is too late,” he told New Era.
Chombe also revealed there has been a decrease in incidents of driving under the influence although speeding remains a constant problem on the B1. When asked what speed merited an on-the-spot arrest Chombe responded that the law has changed from what it used to be.
“We no longer arrest people for speeding, we just give them fines. In previous years anyone found driving over 170 km/h was arrested. Motorists have started manipulating the system because they are well aware of the fact that we can no longer arrest them on the spot for speeding,” added Chombe.
The maximum fine for speeding is N$4 000 while drivers travelling at 165km/h and 145km/h are liable for a N$3 000 fine.
Referring specifically to the section of the road between Otavi and Otjiwarongo, Chombe said domestic and wild animals are the leading causes of accidents.
Other causes include damaged or defective taillights, which are a danger because drivers travelling behind the offending vehicle cannot see the vehicle ahead and this may lead to a collision.
Owners of domestic animals were cautioned against leaving their animals unsupervised on the road, and law enforcement has taken to fining those not heeding the warning.
“We regularly talk to farmers of the dangers of leaving their animals unattended along the road and have urged them to always keep their animals in the kraals at night or even in camps. Those found guilty of leaving animals without supervision are fined N$1000,” he added.
By John Travolter Matali