Don’t drink and walk
In a bid to crack down on alcohol-related road accidents, Namibians have been warned not to drink and walk as the police will breathalyze anyone involved in a collision with a vehicle.
Police spokesperson Edmund Khoaseb told The Namibian that most people get knocked down at night while staggering back home from the pub, thus any survivors will undergo a breathalyzer test, same as meted out to people who drink and drive.
The decision is likely the aftermath of of several accidents that happened between 20th and 23rd January in Namibia’s capital city of Windhoek.
One of the accidents involving a seven-year-old pupil at Tobias Hainyeko Primary School, who was run over by a car along Julius Nyerere Street, and died later in hospital.
“Most of the time, the victims will be coming from bars and under the influence of alcohol, which makes it difficult for them to fully concentrate on the road,” Khoaseb said.
He added that most of the accidents happen as drunk pedestrians stop adhering to traffic rules, such as crossing at designated points.
Khoaseb also stated that drivers are sometimes inattentive too, do not stop at pedestrian crossings, or are distracted while driving, sometimes at high speeds, especially in the vicinity of schools.
According to the World Health Organisation, only Gabon and South Africa record higher rates of alcohol consumption than the former German colony.
For a country of 2 million people, the death rates resulting from alcohol-related accidents is quite on the high side.
A Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) record shows that, between January 1, 2016 and October 4, 2016, 147 pedestrians were killed and 832 were injured on Namibia’s roads.
The Windhoek City Police will furthermore embark on an intensive campaign to educate pedestrians on how to cross the road responsibly, and pedestrians found crossing the road where there is no provision for that will be fined.
Khoaseb said most of these accidents are avoidable if drivers and pedestrians are more attentive when using the roads.