Mariental – Whilst millions of dollars are spent on road safety campaigns to stop the carnage on Namibia’s main roads, the issue of inexperienced drivers is often overlooked.
Speaking to New Era after a courtesy call to Hardap Governor, Sebulon Muenjo, the regional manager of the Road
Transport and Traffic Inspectorate (RTTI) of Roads Authority (RA) in the two southern regions, said although it is proven that speeding is the main cause of deaths on the country’s roads other factors are equally important.
“Many lives are shattered by underage drivers going for a joyride in the vehicles of their parents or older relatives,” he observed, adding that teen drivers, aged between 16 and 19 years, are four times more likely to crash, speed, run red lights, make illegal turns, ride with an intoxicated driver, or drive after using alcohol or drugs than older drivers.
“Inexperience is the reason why these drivers are more likely to underestimate hazardous situations,” he remarked.
Many parents allow unlicensed drivers to go for a short drive, but overlook the risks and consequences of such actions, Muenjo fumed. “I urge parents to familiarise themselves with the risks associated with underage driving.”
He noted that teenagers have a false sense that they can get away with transgressions. With school holiday just few weeks away, coupled with the fast approaching festive season, parents should put carkeys in places where underage children cannot get hold of them, he suggested.
“Know what your children are doing and where they are and how they are travelling to and from their destination,” Muenjo advised. The seasoned traffic law enforcement expert said although the best advice is to teach responsibility is by example parents should stress road safety.
Drawing on experience, Muenjo said if parents drive with caution and obey the laws of the road, their children will also have more respect for traffic laws and for others who use the roads. Traffic law enforcement and road safety campaigns will only be successful if they receive constant and continuous support from parents, churches, traditional authorities and political will.
“Road safety start by obeying laws of the road and that starts at home,” Muenjo concluded.