Driver Attitudes Road Safety's ‘Biggest Challenge’

Police traffic control
Police traffic control

Road traffic accidents remain the country’s biggest challenge, with driver attitudes and behaviours identified as the main causes of road fatalities that account for more than 2,000 deaths in the last five years.

The Minister of Transport and Communications, Thulagano Segokgo revealed the concern when addressing Parliament recently. His remarks followed a question that was asked by the Sefhare/Ramokgonami legislator Kesitegile Gobotswang, who had wanted to know the number of people that died on the roads in the last five years.

He had also wanted to know accident hotspots on the roads, the repair state of such roads, and when they were repaired. Additionally, Gobotswang wanted to know whether the deaths and disabilities were, as a result of the accidents, attributed to poor road conditions and what immediate mitigating factors have been put in place to avert more casualties. The legislator raised another concern that some of the fatal accidents might have occurred as a result of poor road conditions.

Responding to Gobotswang’s questions Segokgo said for years fatal accidents have been the country’s major problem and were the leading cause of death amongst citizens, especially the youth. He revealed that 2,139 people have died on the roads in the last five years. Of that figure 1,719 of the fatalities pointed to accidents as a result of motorists' bad attitudes.

He said motorists’ attitudes toward key road safety issues such as overspeeding, drugs and intoxication, drunken driving, and overtaking risks, remain a major road safety concern. However, he pointed out that another cause of concern is the collision of motorists with either wild animals or domestic animals, in most cases cattle roaming the roads.

The minister said even though the fatal accidents occurred on several roads around the country, the most outstanding cases occurred on the A1 Highway with 415 fatalities from the registered 284 road accidents.

“Another outstanding figure is that on the A3 road, which stretches from Francistown to Junction 44 through Maun with 125 deaths from the 92 accidents followed by the A12 road. The A12 stretches from the Tlokweng Border to Molepolole with 94 deaths that resulted from 77 accidents. Another road with an outstanding number of casualties is the A10, which stretches from BURS traffic lights to Sejelo Police Station in Kanye and the A2 road that stretches from Pioneer Bordergate to Mamuno with 83 deaths from 66 accidents,” Segokgo said.

He stated that even though some fatalities might have occurred as a result of the road conditions, police have pointed out that a majority of them have and continue to occur as a result of general drivers’ attitudes. Segokgo added that the police indicated that some of the accidents could have been easily avoided had road users exercised patience and paid more attention to traffic signs and regulations.

Moreover, Segokgo said most of the accidents occur at month-end, which usually is on a weekend and at night. Moreover, he indicated that the immediate mitigating factors that have been put in place to avert accidents include public education through road safety committees across districts and law enforcement by the transport inspectorate. To add to the road safety efforts, the Department of Road, Transport and Safety in collaboration with the police examine vehicles on the roads, he said.

He added that the ongoing maintenance of roads throughout the country is also a mitigating factor that the ministry has also put forth.

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