We Need to Get Serious About Addressing Road Accidents

Patricia Mayumbelo

Namibia is ranked as one of the countries with the best quality roads in Africa, according to the World Economic Forum.

With a score of 5.2 out of seven, it takes the top spot, ranking above South Africa and Rwanda, which both scored 5.0, in second and third place.

It is the fifth consecutive year that Namibia has retained its position at the top of the list of the best roads on the African continent.

However, the country has witnessed an increase in road fatalities, with the most recent being a collision that took place on our national highway, the B1 road, on 18 June which claimed the lives of nine people.

According to the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA), a comparison of crash statistics from 1 January to 9 June (2023 and 2024) indicates that the number of fatalities has risen from 160 to 172.

Even though this shows a slight decrease in the number of road crashes, what is significant is that the number of injuries incurred has increased from 2 190 to 2 257 during the period under review.


Research shows that important factors involved in the occurrence of accidents are human, vehicles, road and the environment.

Road accidents are increasingly becoming a major contributor to the loss of lives to the extent that it has become a global concern.

In September 2020, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/74/299), ‘Improving Global Road Safety’, proclaiming a Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030.

It set an ambitious target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.

The World Health Organisation and UN regional commissions, in cooperation with other partners in UN Road Safety Collaboration, have developed a Global Plan for the Decade of Action.

Like many other African countries, Namibia has adopted the Decade of Action for Road Safety plan.


  • Human error: Where human behaviour plays a role in crashes. This includes driver errors, risky behaviour, misbehaving or improper driving habits.
  • Driver fatigue: This is one of the biggest health and safety concerns within the road transport sector.

Fatigue can result from not getting enough sleep or do not get quality sleep. It can impair driving leading to accidents.

  • Speeding involves exceeding the permissible speed limits and driving too fast for the prevailing road conditions.
  • A faulty vehicle is one with a manufacturing fault or defect that makes the vehicle dangerous to operate.
  • The design of the road itself can play a significant role in vehicle safety, including road layout, the absence of safety features and lack of maintenance.


  • Education and awareness about road safety increases knowledge and improves the skill required while on a public road.

Awareness campaigns highlight the dangers of risky behaviour such as speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, texting while driving and not wearing seat belts.

Introducing road safety education at schools is another strategy that can teach children about the importance of following traffic rules, pedestrian safety and the dangers of unsafe behaviour on roads from an early age.

In addition, community engagement can be used as a tool to foster a culture of safety and collective responsibility towards road safety.

  • Stakeholder engagement and coordination plays a key role in addressing road safety and is important for resource mobilisation, the development of policies and guidelines, identification of problem and solution, data collection and analysis.

Namibia has various key players in the transport sector, namely “the Ministry of Works and Transport, Ministry of Health and Social Services, Road Safety Council, MVA, the Roads Authority, Automobile Association of Namibia, law enforcement, local authorities, NGOs and the private sector”.

  • Driver training such as defensive driving can help reduce road accidents. Defensive driving refers to driving in such a way that the risk of accident is minimised.

It is also about developing an attitude of anticipating hazards and making quick, appropriate decisions that help ensure the safety of the driver and other people.

Lawmakers could consider making defensive driving a requirement for operating a vehicle on a public road.

  • Engineering intervention can be effective in reducing motor vehicle accidents by implementing road designs, clear signage, efficient traffic management systems and technology.

Addressing road crashes in Namibia will require commitment from the government, as well as all relevant parties. 

The responsibility for road safety should be an ongoing concern for each citizen. One way or the other, everyone is affected by road fatalities.

  • *Prisca Mayumbelo is a transport and logistics professional, employed in the urban and transport planning department at the City of Windhoek. She is the president of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. She writes in her personal capacity.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News