A municipal bus driver was reportedly found drunk behind the wheel while driving a busload of 98 domestic workers to their different drop-off points in Windhoek.
He also faces charges of overloading the bus by as many as 18 people. The bus had seating capacity for 65 people and 15 standing.
The police said the man (name withheld) had almost double the alcohol limit in his bloodstream when they conducted a random breathalyser test in an operation along the Otjomuise Road yesterday morning. The legal breath alcohol limit is less than 0.24 mg in 1000ml of breath, but the driver cracked the meter at 0.77mg.
Almost all the passengers use the bus on a daily basis and some said they were highly unimpressed by this development. “We could have been involved in a major accident without knowing what the cause was,” said one of the commuters.
Senior manager at the MVA Fund Call Centre Sidney Boois said yesterday’s interventions by law enforcement agencies were necessary, as road accidents continue to be a pandemic that needs remedial action. He said interventions must be consistent.
“These interventions must be consistent. It must not be seasonal. The only reason a person will not drink and drive on any road is when there is a possibility of getting caught. We need to increase that possibility,” stated Boois.
Boois said the teams would stop and test drivers for all sorts of transgressions, even if it means commuters would be stranded at such points.
“We will continue with education and awareness to make road users aware of the risks involved until we see a change in behaviour.” He said 70 percent of road casualties involve passengers. “We need to decrease the road safety risk. It is against the law to drink and drive, as one’s ability is reduced and so an intoxicated driver risks everybody in the car,” he further stated. He said police would continue with vehicle occupant protection (seatbelt safety) to reduce the risk of injury by at least 40 percent.
“Currently 70 percent of road casualties involve passengers. We need to enforce passive safety intervention.” He said if everybody in a car can help each other by just ensuring that other occupants wear their seatbelts, it would make a difference.
He said this festive season’s road safety campaign – due to be launched soon – has the theme: ‘Road Safety, My Responsibility’, which means that people must take account of their own safety. “This festive season we don’t want the blame game of it’s a MVA problem, or a government problem, or law enforcement problem. No, we want people to be responsible for themselves.”
Two more persons were also taken into custody yesterday for outstanding warrants of arrests after they failed to settle their outstanding traffic fines in time. The drivers are due to appear in court today.
Members of the City Police and MVA Fund Emergency management held the combined operation and randomly checked cars and drivers. Superintendent Charl Morkel of the City Police said they will monitor how people are transported in vehicles and would continue with the road safety operation throughout the festive season.
“Seatbelt compliance will be major,” he said as he warned motorists to get up to speed with the new traffic rules, especially when it comes to transporting people in open cars. “Only six people must be transported in open bakkies, and bakkies above 3 500kg may have no passengers aboard.”