Fewer festive accidents, fatalities

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Bereng Mpaki

There was significant reduction in the number of road accidents and fatalities during the recent festive period compared to the same period last year, statistics from the Road Safety Department show.

Results from the 2017 Road Safety Christmas and New Year Campaign that began on 15 December 2017 and ended on 3 January 2018 show that fatalities declined to 26 from last year’s 29 while the number of accidents also dropped to 227 from 394.

The results were revealed during an Evaluation Meeting of the 2017 Road Safety Christmas and New Year Campaign that was convened in Maseru this week.

The meeting was attended by representatives of stakeholders who took part in the campaign including the Road Fund, Lesotho Mounted Police Service, Lesotho Defense Force, Lesotho Revenue Authority, Maluti Mountain Brewery, Vodacom Lesotho, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Magistrate office and the Ministry of Finance.

Presenting the statistics, Police Superintendent Clifford Molefe also revealed indicated that the number of affected motor vehicles in the road accidents had also gone down from 662 to 230.

Supt Molefe further showed that the number of people injured also went down from 214 to 110. He said there was also just one animal that was killed on the road as compared to 20 that were killed during the 2016 Christmas holidays.

Supt Molefe also said an even greater reduction of the road carnage could be with more resources.

For her part, Ntumeleng Ntšekhe, the Chief Information Officer of the Road Safety Department, attributed the decline to the awareness campaigns they conducted.

“Our road safety education campaigns are starting to bear fruit as people are beginning to appreciate the importance of being safe on the roads,” Ms Ntšekhe said in an interview with the Lesotho Times.

“This year we had a new strategy of imposing spot fines and we believe that these played a big role in discouraging would-be offenders as word quickly spread to road users who had not encountered our road blocks.”

Ms Ntšekhe further indicated that common road offences include over-speeding, unroadworthy vehicles, absence of driving permits, texting while driving and drunk driving especially by young motorists.

She said they were also planning to scale up by introducing monthly road safety campaigns in order to achieve zero accidents on the roads.

“There is a possibility that some road users comply with the law only during the Christmas holiday because of our presence on the roads. So, by introducing monthly campaigns we want to ensure that road users adhere to the law throughout the year. That way we will be able to achieve our target of zero deaths and accidents on our roads,” she said.

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